Covid-19 and the spiritual dimension
Spirituality is being abundantly conscious of the macro-environment that is enveloping us, instead of being narrowly focused on just one’s self
Spirituality is being abundantly conscious of the macro-environment that is enveloping us, instead of being narrowly focused on just one's self. Living a spiritual life doesn't mean to live the life of a saint or a recluse, it is to live a life with deeper understanding and consciousness of who we are, and what we are doing. Spirituality is also about being eternally open-minded to allow knowledge to freely flow-in. To be a perpetual seeker, is to be spiritually enabled.
It is a fact, that we are simply a particle in this mammoth universe. As an individual, we are quite insignificant in the larger schematic. This fundamental awareness should allow us to let-go of our ignorant arrogance. Our juvenile claim, that we can control everything that impacts us with intelligence, power, wealth or military strength exposes the lack of spiritual grounding.
The 'thought-led smarts' of our species has led us to believe that we are the masters of the world. We have only worked our way up using violent, unnatural methods with impunity to be the on top of the food-chain. Our belief that nothing can challenge or threaten our survival is misplaced.
This planet doesn't belong just to one species, no matter how superior it has evolved to be. There is abundant life on this planet, some our naked eye can't even see. Is it sustainable to inadvertently destroy every other life-form by over populating this planet with just one species?
Before the advent of modern industrialised societies and unquantifiable human greed, most human societies in the world lived natural and spiritual life, co-existing with the nature and its bio-diversity. There were fewer needs and lesser greed in spiritually-enabled societies of ancient civilisations. There was hardly any disease, prolonged life expectancy spanning double or triple than in the current period, in ancient civilisations. Natural death was welcomed and, in a few civilisations, it was even embraced and celebrated.
The Covid-19 microbe is a rude awakener for us humans living in industrialized, structured, artificial human societies. Our position on the top of the food chain has been challenged for the first time ever, in the modern human history by a viral microbe of 0.06 to 1.4 microns.
All the presumed mastery, authority, control over our macro-environment we seem to possess has been neutralized, with COVID19 microbe, forcing the human society into our modern and artificial caves for the last 15 months.
Even after 15 months, the modern human enterprise could neither find an unambiguous, uncontested, standardized treatment for COVID19 infection, nor a pan-world, all-strain, unchallenged preventive vaccine so far. All trial-and-error research outcomes globally so far, have been rife with confusion, contest, denials, and withdrawals. If we are as superior of a species as we are promoted to be, how are we so weak against a viral microbe...and for this long? How did we lose an unprecedented 3.5 million of our fellow humans to this ongoing pandemic?
It is about time we collectively understand, and come to terms with the fact that we are not in complete control of the macro-environment on this planet. There are many natural forces on this planet, we just can't fight against.
However, it is commendable that the human enterprise with its diligence has found many counter measures to defend our species from infectious disease, environmental threats and other existential threats to survive and thrive for this long period. But, it's an irony that on one end we are ruining our habitat and health, and on the other end using billions of dollars to find counter measures to fix. Quite inexplicably both destruction and resurrection are at play in the same time-line.
I strongly believe, it is essential for us to take a conscious pause, while we are forcefully or voluntarily locked up in our homes across the world, to reflect on where we as humans have actually arrived, after all the scientific advancement and thought-led evolution in around 500 years of modern human history. Have we really progressed or regressed? Have we defined success, progress, development, wealth conveniently to suit our unnatural pursuits?
Going forward, below are three key reflections I urge the modern human enterprise to recognize, reflect and resolve.
Reconnect to nature
Life on earth is a unique and an amazing natural creation. It is forever intriguing to see how nature has empowered its life forms with composition of life-preserving gases in the atmosphere. Nature has enabled protection for life-forms on earth from harsh ultra-violet rays of the sun with an ozone layer, cultivatable land for food-produce for nourishment and many such unimaginable wonders.
However, the human species in particular seems to be moving away from its natural habitat, in a frenzy. I feel it is quite unnatural that most modern humans find special comfort in concrete, artificial, noisy, congested and sometimes even life-constricting social-ecosystems.
The concrete habitat we have got ourselves nested into doesn't breathe, nor it enables better life experience in comparison to the natural habitat. If nature has given us oxygen to synthesize and fuel life's core functions, we have almost grown unconscious of even breathing well. The fundamental life functions have become so mundane and underprioritized for centuries of our mad rush towards material pursuits.
Unfortunately, COVID19 had to cruelly remind us of the necessity to have better natural immunity, lower morbidity, higher lung capacity and natural oxygenation to not lose life.
It is evident that in the last 500 years; we have taken many bounties of nature for granted. We have disrespected and abused our natural habitats and over populated ourselves to live like pigeons in stuffy, cramped, tall concrete buildings, even while we have no dearth of land at least for now on this planet.
It has now become imminent for us to go back to where we belong, our natural habitat enveloped by nature. I wish we can find a way to live better, to breathe well, to be disease-free. I fully understand the socio-economic compulsions which have driven-up the population density and artificial urban habitats. However, there is no one else to blame for all the mess we are in today.
Value life, not the lifestyle
It is about time; we reduce our needs to reduce greed in the society. It is the human greed which is driving unmanageable stress, lop-sided priorities, unwarranted comparisons and unhealthy competition.
The human society has grown so shallow, ignorant and bereft of 'life-knowledge', that it values wealth over health, success over happiness, reaction over reflection, drugs over nourishment, reason over emotion, materialism over spirituality and life-style over life.
COVID19 is not the first health challenge to human society and certainly will not be the last. Besides natural degeneration and death through age-related medical conditions, the last 100 years have seen a huge spike in life-style related diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardio-vascular, COPD, Tuberculosis and others.
There are also innumerable mental health illnesses driven out of the complexity of modern social habitats we currently live in.
COVID19 is quite unique in posing an existential threat for humans for the first time ever in the modern history unlike any other disease. Its ability to constantly mutate and its nature to spread fast and infect through respiratory particles, poses a huge threat as a global contagion.
If we as humans were to respect life in its full glory and had a spiritual dimension to our life, we wouldn't have colonized into these highly dense ant-hills of urban habitat. We wouldn't be glaring at such massive infection, disease and death.
Enable a spiritual society
Spirituality is an 'ancient-civilizational-knowledge' asset. It is a superior way of life. It needs to be emulated and valued, if one actually values their life.
Personal success, wealth creation, consumerism, scientific advancement and technological applications are welcome in modern societies, but they shouldn't be at the expense of destroying our own natural-habits and habitat.
In the name of progress, evolution and development, one should not lose track of the larger schematic of this planet and the universe. It is plain foolish to live and work as if, we are the last generation of humans to live on this planet.
Being conscious of our precious life-form, breathing consciously, respecting the natural environment, having gratitude for amazing bounties of nature, empathy towards other life-forms, and living in unison with the elements of nature, are critical spiritual endeavors for human survival in future.
Subsistence was not a bad phase in human evolution. In fact, I feel that was the best phase. In that phase, human needs were least and life was in the lap of nature. 500 years of irresponsible industrialization has risen human needs and wants, and has failed humans in the areas of spiritual self-preservation and natural sustenance.
Irresponsible misdirection towards destroying natural habits and habitats, and building artificial dungeons of concrete in the name of development has brought us today, to a clear and present danger of an existential threat.
I believe, it is time to travel in a different direction for another 500 years, with a worthy and responsible evolution for human species to regain their lost connection with natural habits and habitat.
(The author is the chief spokesperson of the BJP Telangana State, an organisational strategist & a leadership coach)