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  • Jan Rybeck

Contagion


I am noticing how, in those moments when I stop doing, thinking, or planning, I am struck, sometimes flooded by a wave of awareness of great suffering. It is dark, weighty, and thunders in my heart... it hits with a wallop, takes me down for a moment and then seeps into my being with a heaviness, reminding me that even though we have enough money, food,  and shelter, we are at risk. We are all at risk. At risk of being alienated from the other, from the complex interplay of the thousands of connections that make all that money, food, shelter possible. 


Real security comes from connection, not just with each other but with the larger systems we create and exist within. No matter what version (conservative, liberal, science-based, belief-based) of the stories I listen to or read, there is no doubt that the disruption is very real and, well, disruptive. Breakdown is shaking us to our core.


The truth, at its core, is...we are not separate. The virus, the contagion tells us that to our face, and we can't turn away. We are part of it. The walls we live within right now are both real and illusion, reinforcing that idea of separateness even as they protect us from the droplets that can make us sick.

If you, like me, are wondering what you can do from the confines of your home, the meditation practice of tonglen might be useful. I have used tonglen at various times in my life to build my capacity for compassion. I have no idea if it actually does anything outside my own mind but I have witnessed a new way of being with disruption and greater resilience as a result.


Perhaps that is a contagion worth spreading.




Stay safe, stay sane, stay connected.

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