What has occurred over the last two and 1⁄2 years, from a spiritual perspective, is that we have been allowed to come face to face with life. At the very least, one fantasy we all dabble in is the notion of certainty, and we spend significant portions of our day trying to obtain it. To be clear, in many areas of our lives, we do accept uncertainty and live with it. Every time you walk out the front door, you risk consequences, and then again, one does not need to leave home to risk their lives. Being alive is just dangerous. Having children is the most dangerous act we can do. When we bring life into the world, we bring death, as ultimately, we all die. These truths are brutal to accept, so we all fantasize to one degree or another, and some of this is very healthy, but we have come to a point where fantasy living is our default, and we miss out on our real lives as they are. We take life for granted. This society and culture wire us early on to do so.
Perhaps collectively, the most confusing thing we are experiencing is the shock and dismay at how the world became seemingly so uncertain overnight. From our point of view, the world has apparent rock-solid stability to it. We come to rely on things like the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. We rely on our existence, and we get used to it. We do not question it. We have lost our wonder. This can be readily seen in the western world by just how distracted we have become from our own lives that we do not even notice. If we were genuinely embracing life and living it, we would be far more selective in our distractions, and we would not seek them to be the baseline of our existence. However, we are distracted and looking for distractions.
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we were already terrified, but not of something external to us. We are terrified of ourselves. With the Pandemic and all its offshoot consequences, we can safely say the intensity of this fear has multiplied tenfold. The culture and society we have grown up in and continue as adults view emotional wholeness as weakness and false stoicism as strength. The irony is that we are always terrified by something but always in denial of that fear. We have trained ourselves well that repression of fear is bravery in and of itself. We do not handle other emotions well either or even acknowledge them. Being vulnerable has come to be seen as some plague. It is viewed as far more dangerous than the Pandemic. The proof that this is true is that we will spend our entire lifetimes repressing emotions and fleeing endlessly from them, almost to complete internal self-destruction. We have traded living for just existing. The meaning of life in this culture is physical survival. How can we be so angry about things that have absolutely nothing to do with us? If we are angry and do not want to look inward, we will distract ourselves with external anger all day, things we can do nothing about but be angry.
Our first course of action for healing is to want to learn to live with risk and uncertainty since, if we are truly being honest with ourselves, we simply have no other choice. Acceptance of our position, acceptance of reality, acceptance of our mortality, and inability to fully protect ourselves and our loved ones from danger is our road to a happy and meaningful life. Acceptance is the pathway to redemption, forgiveness, true love, living in the now, and experiencing being human. The world did not become uncertain. The world and everyday life are always uncertain and has always been uncertain. The Pandemic awakened us from our complacency, but we must utilize the opportunity to embrace reality, and with our fear levels being what they are, the drive towards fantasy can be overwhelmingly seductive.
During the Pandemic, our minds were sharply focused and attuned to one danger, one threat, one overwhelming uncertainty. Something huge happened that we are still trying to grasp. With the onset of the Covid-19 and our masks about to go up, the mask of the universe came off. We live in a unique and unprecedented time in history, referring to the pre-Covid era. With western society and culture being what it is, we have the “luxury” of living in endless distraction. As George Carlin said, “Gadgets and gizmos have bought us off, and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.”
With the gifts of physical prosperity, the likes of which have never been seen before in human history comes a blessing and a curse as widespread as it is. The blessing is that the vast majority of us in the west, even the poorest, experience a type of abundance that we cannot understand by being completely immersed in it. We simply do not realize how blessed and fortunate we are compared to any other era. The curse is that that leaves us so much time to run from reality, flee from our inner lives, and run from the moment, the only unit of time we have. The curse, for sure, can be and is meant to be transformed into a blessing. We have nowhere else to run but inside ourselves and towards each other. The distractions we get bound up in are just a process of denial. We live scarier lives than the ones from which we are fleeing. Allowing fear to make our decisions for us is far more terrifying and tragic than facing and living with them.
Life is scary and being alive is unpredictable and uncertain. Subconsciously, we all know it does not last forever. This brings with it a whole host of emotions, the entire gamut we can feel as human beings. Our society views death and aging only with negativity, and we all do things to keep in perpetual cognitive denial of these essential aspects of life. We dye our hair, use anti-aging creams and elixirs, try the latest trends to remove wrinkles from our faces, get surgeries, anything we can do to lighten the load of these burdensome ways we view aging and death. Fear of death is very natural to the human condition, and aging does remind us of our mortality. However, our culture does a remarkable job at teaching us to view and frame all this in a negative light and to engage in and practice denial. Death is unfortunate and tragic, but death is something we all must face once we are alive. However, would we rather not have a life? Would we instead not have been? Death is so tragic because we certainly appreciate being alive. However, as we spend life fleeing from death and tragedy and trying to control these aspects of existence, we miss out on truly living.