By Kwami Nyamidie
As we celebrate the winter solstice, we thank you, COVID-19, for giving us an opportunity to experience our inter-connectedness, even if it meant we had to walk through the valley of frustration, sorrow, and death.
History will remember 2020 as one of the years in human history when a virulent pandemic brought the world again to its knees.
COVID-19 Long term effects
Some 1.69 million infected patients around the globe have succumbed to COVID-19. Like a devastating hurricane, the relentless SARS-CoV-2 virus has left in its aftermath several millions of people whose lives have been turned upside down, suffering with mysterious long-term effects.
Gregory Poland, M.D., head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota, describes these as “the significant cellular level damage this virus can cause.” There’s lasting injury to heart muscles, long term harm to the air sacs in the lungs, and impairment to the brain leading sometimes to seizures, strokes, and temporary paralysis.
COVID-19 Economic, Social, and Political Impact
This minuscule virus’s economic, social, and political toll has equally been devastating. Lockdowns have affected travel of all kind. As it peaked in different counties in the United States, religious gatherings, businesses, schools, and non-essential government agencies were closed. Some businesses have been permanently swept away.
Unemployment has rendered some families homeless. Some can’t feed their families. Some political leaders have lost power because of their inadequate handling of the pandemic that blindsided them. Grandparents couldn’t play with their grandchildren. Thousands couldn’t visit their loved ones isolated in clinics or hospitals in intensive care units. There was no time for relatives and friends to grieve the dead in this year like no other.
Breath of Death or Breath of Life
How is it possible that such a virus originating from Wuhan, China, can infect so many people from almost all countries in just a year? Yes, some remote Pacific Island states including Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Cook Islands have succeeded, so far, in shielding their territories from the virus’s scourge.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site explains how the virus spreads: “When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets (some of which are visible) to smaller droplets. Small droplets can also form particles when they dry very quickly in the airstream.”
Spreading on the wings of breath, SARS-CoV-2 turned what brings life into the carrier of death. And in its capacity to spread like wild fire, has given us a clearer understanding of our inter-connectedness.
For thousands of years, wise men and women have revealed to us that we human beings are interrelated at our very core. But this remains a difficult concept for us to grasp. How can you be connected to 7.8 billion people all over the world?
The Hawaiian word “Aloha” expresses a range of feelings that include: “love, affection, gratitude, kindness, pity, compassion, grief, the modern common salutation at meeting.” It can also mean “goodbye.” Aloha has no exact translation in the English language. A deeper meaning of the word emerges from the two words “alo” which means “sharing”, or sometimes “coming together” and “ha”, which means “breath, life energy.” Aloha Spirit symbolizes the understanding that the nearly eight billion people alive today share the same breath. That is the basis for our love for one another.
In 2016, HuffPost published an article on Buddhism. It explained that “When Buddha gained enlightenment, it was the realization that inter-connectedness is the true nature of all beings. We are not only connected to other people, but to the air through our breathing and to the universe through light.” The air we breathe is a primary channel of our connection.
If it took about one year for the virus to be carried to millions infected through the medium of human breath, it’s easy to see that the air we breathe in an average lifespan of 75 or so years can circulate several times through may be 99% of the entire human race.
But “breath” is not just air. It’s energy. It’s prana, the force that animates us.
COVID-19 helps us realize that we’re connected at the energetic level through breath to all human beings and that what we transmit can affect others. Mother Nature has designed an experiment to prove to us that we are connected through breath. The corollary of this insight is that if we send out positive energy through our breath, it will go to the entire world for good.
Winter Solstice: “Thank you, for the Light!”
How do we do that? When we fill our minds with positive thoughts, they imprint our breaths for the good of us all. As you flood your awareness with words of love, and peace, and gratitude, your breath, instead of spreading a virus, sends out a sound, which is a vibration. The vibration turns into energy that circulates the world.
This Winter Solstice Day, and throughout this holiday season, is an appropriate time to test this for ourselves. In this the darkest day in the northern hemisphere we can express our gratitude that spring will come. “Thank you, for the Light!” Just us we shall come out of the darkness of the winter solstice, so we shall rise out of the Shadow from the Valley of Death, in whatever way this appears darkness appears to us.
Let these words spring out from our lips as we wake up in the morning. Let them stimulate our minds throughout the day. As we take our turns in queues, as we wait for our smartphones or computers to restart, or update or download, as we get ready for the traffic light to change let us remember to express gratitude for the light that never fails. “Thank you, for the Light!”
Gratitude for the Silver Linings
Let us be grateful for all the silver linings that COVID-19 (caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) brought us even as we are kicking and screaming.