Compassion in times of coronavirus: Shift from ‘I’ to ‘We’

lockdown siblings

Each of us based on our cultures, background, understanding of science, understanding of alternate medicines and healing, look at the current Corona Virus differently. What we need is compassion in times of coronavirus and an effort to shift from ‘I’ to ‘We’. So let’s ask the question, what does WE stand for in such times.

Some of us might be exercising extra care, extra caution, extra distancing. Some of us might be practising a milder version of this. Then there might be those who don’t believe that all this is necessary, and wonder why there is so much fuss about a flu, when there are so many diseases that are killing thousands every other day/week/month. 

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But then, if we really understand that we are highly interlinked and interconnected species, then it probably requires of all of us to zoom out from ‘I’ (referring to me as an individual, or referring to the belief system we belong to as a community/country), and extend it to ‘we’ (others who have their equal valid reasons to feel the need to practice certain things, or think differently about wellness and virus, from us, other communities/countries). 

Now is not the time for us to occupy a position of any kind (medical or non-medical, or otherwise).

In other words, it is not the time for differences. It is time for all of us to step down, to hear the other. To know that the need of the hour is a view from the ‘collective’ – that the ‘we’ encompasses the whole of human species.

Which means:

If we have to respect what the government wants from us, we shall do that in the collective interest.

– If we have to practice distancing to make others comfortable even if we might not believe in it, it’s okay. Our role in a diverse interconnected world is to create space for others as much as they do for us.

– To believe that no one’s intention here is to cause harm. Everyone wishes to ensure that we don’t contribute to the spreading of it. That’s a good intention. Be it of the society, community, government. 

– To believe like, one of my friend beautifully pointed out, nothing is permanent in Nature, and so this too shall pass. It’s a phase. We can go back to all that we are doing, when things are fine again. 

– If someone believes in the medicinal approach, it’s fine. Give the support they need, not the support we wish to give. If someone wishes for non-medical support, please extend it to them. That’s truly being there for the other, the way they need, not the way we want. 

– Let us not condemn someone’s beliefs. This is not the time. Instead let us listen, hold space, reassure, send them what we know, tell them we hear them and we are there for them.

It’s not a YOU VS US. It’s all of us right now, or none/few of us. That’s how species in nature works.

Be it ant colonies, or any animal that lives socially in groups, their mission is to protect the species, not the individual. They look out for the collective, they make decisions for the collective, they take on roles that helps the collective, because they know the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. 

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Dr.Vijaya Venkat, a very dear mentor and founder of The Health Awareness Centre (Mumbai),  taught me, and several of us, this: `I’ is `Illness Consciousness’, and `We’ is `Wellness Consciousness’.

We are interconnected. We are interdependent. We encompass EVERYONE –  across the globe, across races, across religions, across all belief systems. This is really not the time for `I’. 

I invite you into the WE, as this makes us resilient.

Views expressed are author’s own