By Deepak Chopra & Rudolph E Tanzi
One way to respond in a crisis is to reduce its threat. The other way is to add to the threat. No matter how the Covid-19 pandemic resolves itself – something no one can predict – you can personally choose right now to reduce its threat. If you consciously make that choice, three positive things will happen. You will feel more in control; you will be on the side of healing; and you will add to the meaning of your life.
Act responsibly, following what disease control experts advise. By now everyone is aware of the need to stay at home, self-quarantine if you show any symptoms, keep 6-10 ft away from other people in public, don’t take long plane flights, and wash your hands frequently.
This is all useful advice, but it doesn’t address where being in control comes from, which is mental. Positive thinking isn’t enough. Feeling safe and secure is a state of awareness. It exists in us when we reach deeper than the everyday self. The everyday self cannot feel permanently safe. Outside forces loom too large and threatening. This is the time to take up meditation or return to it if you have lapsed. Your goal is to connect with your deeper awareness, the place where self-control and security comes from.
Healing is a mind-body process. If you are sad, stressed, depressed, anxious, helpless, hopeless, panicky, or feel out of control, every cell in your body gets that message. Therefore, do everything you can to send the opposite message. Meditation can restore mind-body balance. But you also need to be vigilant on two other fronts: sleep and stress. Good, sound sleep maintains homeostasis and prevents a cascade of imbalances that can occur in hormones, for example. Stress is a powerful trigger for hormone imbalance, among other things. It has been linked to chronic inflammation, for example, which seems to be present in acute and chronic disease.
Vagal breathing is centred on stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to heart, lungs, intestinal tract, and elsewhere. By breathing in to a count of four, holding your breath for a short pause, and breathing out to a count of four, you tell the vagus nerve that you are in a calm, balanced state. In response, it helps maintain mind-body balance.
Follow a healthy diet and avoid /minimise alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
Life becomes more meaningful when you feel you have purpose, when you give of yourself in service, when you find resources of strength and resilience inside yourself, and when you discover who you really are.
Viruses have no motive except self-preservation and replication. All of us have the same instincts; they are built into our evolutionary past. But where human evolution excels is at the level of consciousness that goes beyond instinct, into the realms of empathy and self-awareness.
During times of crisis, we naturally take time to appreciate what we have and place greater priority on what is most important to us. The question is how to carry this on after the crisis of Covid-19 passes. Your life will be more meaningful if you contribute to meaningful solutions that reach far, far beyond the rampage of this virus. Everything, including being in control and being a healer, is wrapped up in that.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.