Each of us is an agent of the change we will experience. Be aware of your intentions, thoughts and projections, for them to be guided by creative opportunities and not by fear.
I tend to view social phenomena in terms of the deeper, more subtle impact they have in terms of energy and spirituality rather than the actual events and situations themselves. Reactions to events are often more dramatic than the events themselves, as financial experts have proven. With each passing day, we see the impact Coronavirus is having on the financial markets. But let’s take a look instead at what the long-term impact of this social revolution might be on our behaviour, attitudes and tendencies.
I believe that this experience will prove to be a shattering one. A few days ago, Mario Greganti, HR Director at Branca Distillerie, told me “Afterwards, everything will change, because we will have changed”. But there is a difference between shifting to this new approach out of increased awareness, or as the result of a knee-jerk reaction. There will be many challenges to face, and some difficult choices to be made. So we will need to be even better at applying creative solutions to operational issues, whilst at the same time maintaining the necessary detachment. Here are a few ideas about possible outcomes the new Coronavirus and the resulting social distancing, might have on us and the environment we live in, bearing in mind they are my own personal views. I have matched each topic with something to read.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell Matthew, 10, 28
Coronavirus is doing great things for the environment. This is the first and perhaps only benefit of our enforced isolation. The satellite of the Copernicus “Sentinel-1 5P” Programme has beamed back images clearly showing how pollution levels, particularly emissions of highly toxic nitrogen dioxide, have plummeted in Northern Italy. We need only go out for that short walk we are allowed to take, to enjoy clean air in all its wonder. I think the planet is thanking us. Or perhaps it is thanking the virus! But what about afterwards? I am convinced that the difference will help us realise just how much every choice we make affects the environment. Recommended reading: We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by J. Safran Foer.
2. Reflection, introspection, meditation
Have our lives revolved too much around doing things, around the outside world? Has the treadmill wiped out any time we had for ourselves, for thinking, for reflection? If so, we have forgotten we are also made of Spirit and Divine Presence. Fernando Rielo tells us more, in his book entitled The Mystical Conception of Anthropology. So let’s take advantage of this prolonged immobility to get back in touch with our inner space, and learn how it can become a gateway to Infinity.
3. A return to the essence
The virus is sweeping away anything superfluous or pointless. It is doing away with needs created to compensate for empty spaces, uglier versions of other, deeper needs. Like a fine sieve, it is filtering out values, desires and needs that really count and putting them under the spotlight. All of which we will be able to rebuild on new foundations, perhaps with the addition of some new whims. Read: Unlimited Power: the new science of personal achievement, by Anthony Robbins.
Another fact is that we’re spending a lot of time with our families and children. In all likelihood this close, consistent and prolonged contact might make things come to a head, and perhaps even lead to separations and divorces, as already happened in China. For others it might help them get to know each other more, and love one another even more than before, perhaps once we’ve got any initial clashes out of the way! Read: The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende.
5. Elective Affinities
Are we missing our friends or catching up with like-minded people? Perhaps we really want to catch up with friends we haven’t seen for ages, perhaps even people we last saw long before the arrival of the virus. The thought of carefree socialising seems like a distant mirage right now, doesn’t it? I think that once we are able to start spending time with other people and exchanging ideas with them, we’ll really value it, instead of taking it for granted as we may have done in the past. Perhaps we will have fewer but more significant relationships. Even more so if social distancing should become a more long-term regulation. Something to dust down and read again: Elective Affinities, by J.W. Goethe
In this period of enforced immobility and waiting, our sense of time has been completely upended. We all have to rethink and redefine it, to work out if the way we saw time in the past still makes sense. More than ever before, we have come to realise just how much our sense of time has become tied up with the notion of “doing things”. But what if we were to connect it to the Self? Let’s take another look at To Have or to be, by Eric Fromm
7. The Power to Sacrifice
Right now, every one of us is sacrificing parts of our lives and rights to a greater extent, but we are doing so for a Greater Good. At least this is, and indeed should be, our intention. We know we are sacrificing them for health, for the elderly and sick, out of the need to care for the population as a whole, for others. For some, this sacrifice is bigger and more pervasive than others. Master Yogi Bhajan devised the theory of the “7 steps to Happiness”. There are of course seven, and the first is the starting point and the easiest of all: commitment. The seventh is Happiness. The ability to Sacrifice is in sixth place, and it is the one that takes us to Happiness with a capital H. Commitment, Character, Dignity, Divinity, Grace, the power to Sacrifice and Happiness. Read: Success and the Spirit, by Yogi Bhajan.
8. Inner strength
Our nervous system is designed to overcome crises, and learn from difficulty. If there were no hurdles and crises, we might actually end up self-destructing. We are also designed to grow stronger with every crisis we successfully overcome. So the result depends on how we tackle that crisis. If we do it with consciousness, without running away or panicking; if we tackle it with a balanced, clear-headed approach and determination, we will come out stronger than before on the other side. And the result will be in proportion with the extent of the challenge faced. The time is right for reading Tecniche di resistenza interiore by Pietro Trabucchi.
9. Obedience and Mastery
Last but not least, in the world of yoga, it is a well-known fact that to learn how to command, you must first learn how to obey. We are all engaged in great work, where obedience is concerned. Whatever our ideas (and thankfully we continue to have our critical faculties, the ability to assess and judge, even at this moment in time), we are putting them to one side to obey strict isolation rules that affect our daily lives considerably, something that has never happened to most of us in Italy. Quite simply we are getting on with it, every one of us. What better training can there be for obedience? When we leave this isolation, remember you will have acquired a new leadership skill, and Mastery. At the very least, we can all be better Guides, people who “show the way” to themselves and others. I recommend you read If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him, by Sheldon Kopp.
Alessia Tanzi, a business consultant, is an expert in meditation practices and personal development. She is the founder of Yoga-Coaching and trains business executives to integrate these practices in their day to day management tasks.