Anugyan on love and awareness in the time of covid (part 2 of 2).
I went to meet two friends from Eastern Europe at an open air café in town. This was between UK lockdowns, and it was allowed at that time to meet with others outside. My friends are from the alternative health community and passionately opposed to the official line. They’re also very well-informed and I find their views interesting, as I do those from mainstream doctors. However, there was a threatening air around us as we discussed these matters in the cold wind, huddled in our coats. We knew to keep our voices down whilst discussing the state of the world. Then a security officer drove up, got out of his car, marched straight into the café and ordered them to tell everyone sitting outside to disperse ‘for covid reasons’, as the waiter informed us.
We walked up the high street. Very few people were around. Having nowhere to go, we stood by a tall grey wall, bracing ourselves against the wind, continuing our conversation. I started wondering if we were being filmed, and if the guard earlier had turned up because the café was bugged. The whole feeling was so redolent of accounts I’d read of East Berlin before the wall came down, it was uncanny. To complete the picture, another East European friend emerged from the nearby alley, greeted us warmly then immediately moved on. In East Germany, if any groups were seen laughing or having too much of a good time, that would be a signal for the Stasi to descend on them. This has been happening in the UK, with laughter in groups being a subject of suspicion. Still, we persisted with our conversation, until it was time for me to catch my bus and I went to the station.
British bus shelters are generally a grim affair. Bill Bryson describes them as ‘wind tunnels with advertisements’. This one was no exception, adding to the depressing ambience.
When the bus arrived, I was the only passenger. I have an exempt badge for wearing a mask as I have breathing issues if my face is covered for too long. Even so, despite the badge, I felt nervous, that I was doing something wrong. This feeling was exacerbated when I saw the driver glance back at me then talk sotto voce into his radio. I had no doubt he had informed someone that I was now on the bus and not wearing a mask. Perhaps our ‘seditious’ conversation at the café had been filmed, and this was a consequence.
The bus pulled away, and started to follow its usual route out of town then suddenly took a different turning. I was doing my best to meditate and witness all this, rather than allow the drama to overcome me. Nonetheless, my apprehension had increased ten-fold. I had rarely known buses to deviate from their designated routes, and only for good reason such as a road blockage, and there was no such thing here. As we proceeded into an industrial estate, I even started to imagine I was going to be whacked. (I’m a writer. My mind goes to strange places.)
When the bus came to a halt in a parking area, I got out of my seat, approached the driver, and asked calmly what was going on. “We’re out of water,” he informed me. “It won’t take long.” Sure enough, I saw a man outside approaching with a water can.
I returned to my seat and we resumed our normal route. As I was the only passenger, we made up the time easily. Reflecting on what had happened, I realised that I had caught the Serious Fear Virus (SFV).
There is so much to be afraid of: Are we heading to global totalitarianism? Will I or anyone I care about catch covid? Will I be in trouble for breaking one of the many rules that keep changing, and are so hard to follow? Will I ever get my normal life back? Will we revert to screwing up the environment, driving and flying everywhere, post-lockdowns? Is Bill Gates going to force everyone to eat artificial meat? What is going to happen to the economy? The list goes on.
And so many people have caught SFV. I see it in the faces of the elderly when they dare to go outside. I see it in families who are forced to go closer than two metres to someone else on a narrow path. I hear it when people tell me that the World Health Organisation is at the heart of an attempt to enslave us all. I witness it on the News, and hear it in the language of reporters, politicians and those calling in to radio shows (‘We will win this war,’ ‘Those who don’t wear masks should be imprisoned’ etc.).
The good news? Once you recognise SFV for what it is, you can’t catch it. Or, if you had caught it, it vanishes promptly in the full light of awareness. It’s difficult, maybe impossible, to do it for someone else, but hopefully others will take note of your response and shed it for themselves.
“What’s so good about X-Dimensions?”
Let’s return to that question at the beginning of the first part. (I still hear it in a broad northern English accent.)
To start, a five-dimensional perspective gives us, as it were, an eagle’s eye view from an eternal sky: knowing that all earthly things perish, including civilisations, that one can fly above that drama, and become a witness. Therefore, the SFV cannot take hold, because at the heart of all fear is the fear of death. If that cannot take hold of you, neither can Death’s minions – plagues, floods, totalitarian regimes, dodgy science or political gas-bags.
Here already is reason to be compassionate and loving, for we are all quite frail these days and facing this together, no matter our lot in life. The Desiderata expounds on this:
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.
Six-dimensions is the realm of shifting forms and perspectives, its dark side being deep down the rabbit hole as portrayed so astutely in the X Files TV show.
On the lighter side, above the rabbit hole perhaps, a good device for navigating the shifting sands is to remember always, ‘The opposite of one truth is another truth’. With identities and loyalties – including our own – nebulous, it is hard to know where one stands, and it’s tempting to remain fixed in a single place, rigid, entrenched. The current restless natural and social climates are not in any way conducive to that. We are being kept on our toes, and need to keep moving.
While five dimensions grants us a calm overview and distance from this restlessness, six go further by releasing us from the constraints of a single, limiting identity. We now stand back and observe ourselves as actors playing roles in a global, if not cosmic, drama. Whether one chooses to be an egocentric actor that no one wants to work with, or a gracious and grateful one that everybody speaks well of once a performance is over, is up to us. (A friend of mine was an extra on the film Onegin. It was raining and she was cast as a gypsy in a thin dress and in bare feet. Liv Tyler, fully clothed and with an umbrella, approached my friend, concerned for her wellbeing. That kindness has remained with my friend, and made an impression on me, while I can barely recall the film.)
Part of the drama in which we are currently engaged is, indubitably, whom to trust. With so many powerful forces at work, it is easy to feel helpless as well. One of the most revealing scenes in the final episode of the Angel TV series contained the following dialogue:
GUNN: What if I told you it doesn’t help? What would you do if you found out that none of it matters? That it’s all controlled by forces more powerful and uncaring than we can conceive, and they will never let it get better down here. What would you do?
ANNIE: I’d get this truck packed before the new stuff gets here. Wanna give me a hand?
GUNN: I do.
Angel, Season 5, Episode 22
Pragmatism is one of the keys here – and so is humour.
The Sufi holy fool Nasrudin, was ferrying a pedantic scholar across a piece of rough water, and said something ungrammatical to him.
“Have you never studied grammar?” asked the scholar.
“Then half of your life has been wasted.”
After a while, Nasruddin turned to the passenger. “Have you ever learned how to swim?”
“Then all your life is wasted – we are sinking!”
Humour I do find one of the greatest casualties, as would be expected with the proliferation of the SFV. To compensate for all this seriousness around, I can fantasise how Shakespeare might have written a modern-day King Lear losing his grasp of reality, and his irreverent Fool:
LEAR: We’re going to die! From covid! From the vaccine! From something! Agghhhh!
FOOL: Twas ever so, nuncle. We signed that contract when born.
LEAR: It’s all part of a great conspiracy to enslave humanity.
FOOL: Humanity was already enslaved. To greed, religion, status… It’s a rich pickings for fools.
LEAR: People aren’t wearing enough masks.
FOOL: People are always wearing masks.
LEAR: Wearing masks erases our identity.
FOOL: Makes no difference to me. I’ve got prosopagnosia. In fact, it’s easier.
LEAR: The economy is doomed! Doomed, I tell you!
FOOL: I was already broke. You never pay me, you fool.
LEAR: After lockdown, people will drive and fly once more to abandon.
FOOL: Wherever that is.
LEAR: They’ll darken the skies with invisible air.
FOOL: What’s new, nuncle? The rain it raineth every day. With a hey nonny nonny no! Ow! (THUNDERCLAP. LIGHTNING. IN THAT ORDER.)
And so on.
I permitted a bit of personal bias in the above, as I myself have prosopagnosia, aka face blindness. Like others with the condition, I am rather appreciative of the current situation, everyone in the same boat with the masks. (I can offer lessons in recognising body language and using conversation to determine someone’s identity discreetly if anyone’s interested.)
With appropriate seriousness though, so many of us are coping with loss, bewilderment, and helplessness, what can one possibly glean from X-Dimensional research that might be of help?
The most important aspect I keep mentioning as deserving of repetition: the timeless five-dimensional perspective liberates one from the linear story of birth to death. We are not going anywhere, so what is there to worry about? Thus, a deep-rooted peace and trust may be born.
From the form-shifting six-dimensional perspective, the roles we each play come to light, and further distance is achieved between us and our worries and concerns – if it’s all a play, how can we take ourselves so seriously? Furthermore, the ability to step out of our roles is provided, in order for us to take up different ones – this encourages an openness to other people’s opinions, and an enrichment of our own perspective. Above all, we become liberated from self-imposed constraints, flexible and capable of spontaneous responses to the ever-changing situation. The anti-vaccination believers have great difficulty in accepting that mainstream medicine might have got it right and are acting in our best interests. Conversely, I enjoyed how the doctor in a Star Trek Voyager episode switched from allopathic to Native American medicine in a heartbeat, once he realised it was more appropriate for the situation. Few working in mainstream medicine right now would have that comprehensive knowledge or be comfortable with such flexibility.
Six dimensions take us into such extreme realities, there is another lesson to be learned from them. With the truth of things so confusing and overwhelming, this reflects how we may feel when immersed into the array of contradictory facts and opinions. At the end of the day, the challenge with multiple realities is to be very clear with our own identities, who we are, and what feels right for us to do. This is key, part of which is formed by personal experience. In The Book of Mirdad there is an emphasis on the ‘I’ which is unusual for any great spiritual book as they usually emphasise egolessness. (Six-dimensional flexibility, remember.)
A fountainhead is I whence flow all things, and wither they return.
As is the fountainhead, so also is the flow.
A magic wand is I.
Mikail Naimy, The Book of Mirdad
Naimy is providing an invaluable clue here: that it is imperative to know who you are, and where you stand in the midst of everything else. By all means, listen to others, it is important to do so, but in the end we have to come back to ourselves and our own truths.
In part of that recognition is an awareness of our connection with the planet. If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it should be that every one of us whether we know it or not, has a profound need to be in nature regularly. Our bodies and our souls cry out for that connection. People would not be breaking lockdown restrictions to get to the beach if that were not true.
This awareness was captured beautifully by a meme doing the rounds at the beginning of the lockdowns, that the virus was Earth’s way of telling us to go to our rooms and think about what we have done.
So, to summarise ‘what’s so good about x-dimensional theory’, here are some tips for dealing with the global and personal crisis:
- Relax. None of us are going anywhere, but our bodies will invariably return to the earth at some point. There’s nothing we can nor need to do about it. Everything that is truly valuable, qualities such as love and compassion, is retained.
- Society may be going to collapse. That’s what societies do. At least until we get it right. As the saying goes, have the wisdom to distinguish between what you can and cannot change. Relax.
- Cultivate humour. This is when it’s really needed. Be the Fool in the face of King Lear who takes himself far too seriously.
- Be pragmatic rather than theoretical.
- See the world as a stage, and decide very carefully what role you would like to play – or number of roles.
- Be aware there are others on the stage. Listen to their stories too, otherwise we will just be people shouting at each other rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue.
- Take the opportunity to really examine your relationship with the planet, how it has been, and how you would like it to continue, for your sake and the sake of all those who come after you.
Yet for perhaps the greatest insight into how to handle these times, I return to a story I heard regarding another Sufi, no less illogically brilliant than Nasruddin, the 8th century mystic Rabiya Al Adabiya:
One day the sun is shining and the villagers are all out and enjoying the weather, except for her. Someone knocks on her door, crying out, “Rabiya, Rabiya, it’s a beautiful day outside, why don’t you join us?”
“It’s a beautiful day inside,” is her response.