Living through a global pandemic can feel so surreal, as though we are living in a dream-world. Though it can feel like we are living through a collective nightmare, there are precious gifts encoded within the experience that would be truly tragic if overlooked. Though it is imperative to deal with the physical outbreak of the virus by every means at our disposal, it would be a tragedy beyond measure if we focus our attention merely on its external manifestation while marginalizing what the pandemic is touching—and revealing—within us about ourselves.
The coronavirus has two vectors of transmission – one within our physical bodies, another within our minds. If we become entranced—as if enchanted or under a spell—by the forms of the outer world such that we forget their interconnection to the world within us, our mind then splits in two. We become dissociated within—and from—ourselves, a state which forecloses on our being able to be of help to anyone, including ourselves. We have then unwittingly fallen under the thrall of the psychological aspect of the virus.
The coronavirus feeds off of and literally engenders fear – within us, all around us and everywhere in-between. Fear is contagious – when it develops enough collective momentum, it feeds on itself, driving a downward spiral into the darkness of the underworld. As fear propagates itself throughout the field, it unleashes the terrifying and fearsome powers of darkness, which then inspire more fear in a never-ending, crazy-making feedback loop. When fear becomes rampant, we become more susceptible to being controlled by external forces.
And yet, recently our day to day lives have changed and become so surreal that if we manage to step out of and not be caught by our fear, it has actually become way easier to recognize the dreamlike nature of reality—and hence, become lucid in the waking dream of life—than before the pandemic’s arrival. It is as if we are living in a dystopian Sci-Fi novel or movie in which our world has turned upside-down and inside-out – what could be more dreamlike than that?
Living in such an uncertain topsy-turvy world gone mad naturally creates extreme stress, anxiety and creative tension. And yet, there is an opportunity of a lifetime that now becomes available to us hidden within this very challenging internal process. Rather than distancing ourselves from what has been triggered within us—social distancing from ourselves—if we are able to bear, carry and utilize the uncomfortable, and sometimes excruciating tension in a conscious way, we can potentially ignite the creative spirit within us to be set aflame with the light of divinely-inspired inspiration. Creativity is one of the greatest medicines at our disposal during times such as this.
It is noteworthy that recognizing the dreamlike nature of our shared reality is a realization which dispels fear. Realizing the dreamlike nature is to recognize that we are dream characters—embodied reflective aspects—of each other. This realization carries within it an implicit intuition that “otherness” and “separation” are ultimately illusory mental constructs. Being interconnected dream characters, none of us exists as a separate entity, an island in and of ourselves, but rather, we only exist in relation to others, who likewise don’t exist as objective, independently existing entities, but only exist relative to others, ad infinitum. We all exist relative to—are related to—each other in a seamless interdependent web of mutual connectivity. There is in reality no separate self anywhere, a realization which concurrently helps us to realize our interconnectedness with each other. This is one of the potential gifts being offered to us by the coronavirus. The expression of this realization is compassion, the transformative power of which should never be underestimated.
When we get right down to it, the coronavirus simultaneously elicits fear as well as—by revealing reality’s dreamlike nature—also potentially dispells the very fear it triggers. It is up to each one of us which of these parallel universes—one riddled with fear; the other, dreamlike beyond belief—that we invest our attention in, and hence, create. If we choose the universe ridden by fear, we will undoubtedly be doomed to a tragic fate. If we recognize that the universe is in fact a collective dream, however, and choose to consciously step into the dream, we discover that the universe is malleable to our hands, which is to say that we have a hand (or two) in creating it. This is to begin to realize our intrinsic creative power, another one of the gifts offered us by the coronavirus outbreak.
The coronavirus pandemic is a form of collectively shared trauma to which no one is immune. In a recent interview, Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine points out, “The shock really is the virus itself.” The virus is multidimensional—having a micro and macro aspect—in that it doesn’t just shock our system, it shocks “the system.” No one among us is untouched by its shattering impact both upon our lives and within our psyches. When we are shaken up by trauma, it can—potentially—be the impetus for a long-dreamed of transformation within our soul, as our inner constitution can be re-written in a way that helps us to become free.
The coronavirus, by so shaking up our world, our ordinary routines as well as our psyches, is potentially “a lucidity stimulator” undreamed of until now, potentially catalyzing us to greater heights of lucidity. But being like a dream, how the coronavirus pandemic manifests within our minds—as nightmare or lucidity stimulator—depends upon what we do with what it has activated within us. The coronavirus can help us to remember that it is within ourselves where our true power and agency lies – another of its many gifts