November 18, 2020
Madikeri, Karnataka, India
As I read this book called The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak, one that sticks to me is: The Universe is One being. Everyone and everything is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And- do not gossip behind anyone’s back- not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space, and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.
As I see out of my window across the valley and the towering hills with lush green plantations and forests in the rolling landscape, I feel this rule is now more important then ever before. Everyone AND everything is One being. There is no separate me, or you, or that. Academically, we may know that, but it’s only embodied in the direct experience. And, even then what good is this knowledge if it is not reflected in our day to day intentions, thoughts, words, and actions?
I saw everyone wearing masks in public, though not much social distancing in the market here over Diwali. The stores are tiny and there’s no one enforcing the distance. As for no-masks, one thousand rupee fine is enough to change people’s ways. Then, I see the US news and so called patriots, or Karens, wearing no masks. I feel concerned for family and friends there. Mask up is now the new defensive driving- you try to avoid the other drivers to stay safe.
I often wonder about the culture of purposely putting others in harms way. It is clearly not American. Otherwise we’d all be doing it. I feel it is some sort of insufficiency or unworthiness that always tries to find ways to express itself. Perhaps by not wearing a mask, not conceding the election, one feels superior, albeit momentarily. Perhaps by polluting the Earth or not caring about the environment there is a dopamine hit in the brain. Perhaps by waving your big guns out in the public one momentarily feels worthy. I often wonder what they experience when they close their eyes at night and face themselves in their aloneness.
We’ve gone several weeks writing letters to each other and as I re read this rule, perhaps we are not writing to anyone. It is the One writing, and the One reading from different portals. Then again I wonder, coronavirus too is part of the Universe, One being. In our interconnectedness, perhaps we need to learn to live with it till it is manifest, and redirect our attention to care for our minds, bodies, and breaths and be compassionate towards others.