For a few weeks now, a topic has entered our consciousness and has almost completely taken it over. In the traditional media there are corona reports with interruptions, in the social media the most different contributions to the one topic flourish. It seems as if we are not allowed to discuss or consider anything else.
Clearly, this virus has turned all our lives upside down in a way that has not been seen as long as anyone can remember. Every person in our society must adapt their habits and daily routines to the demands of the situation. It requires a lot of thinking and speaking to be able to process these changes.
A collective consciousness has spread and has entered our heads uninhibited. Its main drive is the pure fear of survival, its additional drive the social fear of not wanting to infect others. This consciousness acts like an undertow that wants to pull everything into itself, from which nothing should remain untouched. It has encircled our possibilities for action and we have sent ourselves into our lot, knowing that all others will join in. At the same time, it has bound and occupied our thinking, which then staggers from one wall to the other and then back again, as in a prison cell.
In addition, there is the uncertainty about the duration of the measures, which puts question marks over all the plans and future expectations that we have built up and prepared within ourselves. We do not know how long we will have to sit at home, how long the restrictions on freedom of movement will be maintained and in what form they will continue to exist. We have to live more in the moment, even if the imagination always wants to travel into a desirable future. Our thinking can only circle around here too: What have I planned and how little do I know if it can happen.
We are confronted to a much greater extent with the fundamental unpredictability and unaccountability of reality. Already 2600 years ago, the teachings of the Buddha pointed at impermanence, at the constant changeability of life and at the human mind, which obstinately refuses to accept it, and which builds up all its fears around this impermanence. According to Buddha, suffering results from fighting this impermanence by holding on to old habits, relationships, expectations, objects, including health. As soon as and only when we acknowledge that nothing is permanent and that therefore nothing is under our absolute control, we will find inner peace.
But how are we supposed to come to peace when everything around us is uncertain? How are we supposed to find peace when everyone is constantly talking about the one subject that contains nothing positive, but only worries and fears? The virus with all its incalculable threat is everywhere, or at least it could be everywhere, on every door-buckle and in every drop of air.
Plea for Corona-Free Spaces
Not even this plea can do without alluding to the almighty theme. This is what happens when the collective consciousness is narrowed and restricted. But we can only get out of this bewitchment by occupying ourselves with other issues. Immediately someone stands up saying that this is just a distraction. But what should we distract ourselves from? By now we know in overflow and tedium what there is to know. We do what we have to do.
So there is plenty of time for other things, other activities, other ideas that have nothing to do with the omnipresent virus. For this we have to clear our heads, instead of constantly cluttering them up with this topic. The virus has settled down in our heads and wants to multiply and multiply further, as it were its nature. It wants to make us addicted to itself, like a lover who wants to fill the object of his admiration with his own self, so that she will not be able not forget him for a second.
How do we fight an addiction? We stop nurturing and feeding it. We restrict its space by opening up other spaces and occupying them with our activities until the addiction has died down in its chamber. We focus our attention on everything that is free of viruses: the animals and plants around us, the sunshine, the raindrops. We use the time to dig up old hobbies or to realize ideas that have been left behind. We enjoy the beauties and miracles that surround us. We live with the magic of simplicity that this time grants us.
Fortunately, in this case, the external limitations have nothing to do with violence and destruction as in a war (this difference should not be blurred, even if some politicians want to present themselves as martial saviours by using this metaphor for disease control). We can identify these restrictions with inner restrictions and then suffer from our immobility, or we can expand our inner freedom all the more as we are restricted by the outer regulations.