Corona memorial forest

On Current Affairs

Marita Coppes would love to see municipalities or individuals designating and protecting forests in memory of all those lost to the coronavirus.

Sônia Guajajara
Sônia Guajajara, indigenous spokeswoman from the rainforest

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus we need new words to adapt ourselves to the ‘new normal’. We are on our way to becoming a ‘six-foot-society’ by making ‘distance visits’ and we are creating ‘distance shame’ by reminding others – even squealing on them – to safeguard the six feet distance.

The new words help us to take responsibility for the consequences of the coronavirus but what I miss is reflection on the causes. And I don’t mean going into all the conspiracy theories that are humming around but rather contemplating an x-ray image of a lung. If you watch carefully you can see our lungs looking like trees standing upside down. The trachea looks like the trunk, the respiratory tract looks like the branches and the alveoli look like leaves.

Our lungs get hit very hard by the coronavirus and the resemblance to a tree reminds me of all the news items over the past year about the lungs of the earth, our forests. The bush fires in Australia, the murderous rate of deforestation of the Amazon since the rise to power of Bolsonaro in Brazil, but also the deforestation in the Netherlands. Relatively speaking deforestation moves at an even higher pace here than in the Amazon.

To me there is a direct relationship, a cause and effect, an ‘as inside so outside’. That is why – within the scope of dealing with the coronavirus – I would love to see us planting trees for every casualty on the pretext of #rememberingyou4thenext7generations. It would be lovely to see municipalities or individuals designating and protecting forests in memory of all those lost to the coronavirus, with different kinds of trees at six feet distance from one another.

Man is not an island; nothing is. All is interrelated, all is interdependent. Independence – the very word – is false, so is dependence. The reality is interdependence.

Everything is so deeply connected with everything else that nothing can exist apart. If you can understand a small rose flower in its totality, root and all, you will have understood the whole cosmos, because the whole cosmos is involved in that small rose flower. In the smallest leaf of grass all is contained.

But remember, as Fa Tsang said to the Empress: All illustrations, all descriptions are static, and existence is a dynamic flux. It is a river. Each thing goes on moving into each other thing. It is impossible to draw lines where one thing ends and another begins; there are no demarcating lines – there cannot be. So all distinctions are only for practical purposes, they have no existential value.

This is the first thing to be understood. This is very fundamental to the Taoist alchemy. Once this is understood, then the whole alchemy of Taoism becomes comprehensible. Then the lower can be transformed into the higher, because the lower contains the higher already. The baser metal can be transformed into gold because nothing is separate – the baser contains the gold already. As above, so below; as below, so above.

Osho, The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1, Ch 5

First published on her blog – English translation by Srajan –

Another related discourse
We are all a connected whole

Marita Coppes

Marita Coppes is an artist and author. She runs a storytelling school in the Netherlands.

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