keskiviikko 18. maaliskuuta 2020

Fear, Mortality and Coronavirus

Fear, Mortality and Coronavirus

I don’t think I have that many friends who don’t do somekind of spiritual practice but I would like to post this short instruction to be shared by my friends as an attempt to help anyone who might found her- or himself overwhelmed by strong emotions due to fear of illness and death caused by coronavirus. Please share this on your wall.

I am a teacher of buddhist meditation. Some might think that ”buddhism” is something religious but I personally view buddhism as a practical philisophy that through different kinds of exercises can help us with our existential and emotional issues. You can think yourself, use your own reason and try the exercises I am about to suggest to you.

So. Coronavirus triggers fear and anxiety in the minds and hearts of many. We can feel this anxious energy that fills the air, even if we are not in the immediate presence of other people. It is kind of natural to be afraid in this life threatening situation. It is kind of natural for us to react to this impending danger by becoming fearful. However, we do not necessarily need to be bound by fear.

It is a simple fact of life that what is born will also die. There is not a single lifeform on Earth that is born and keeps on living. All kinds of beings are born, live for some time and then pass away. This includes everyone, you and I included. This simple fact is something that people forget, even though it is inevitable. Think about it.

Our Western culture does not discuss death openly so when something unexpected happens in life, like we get into some accident or get badly ill, we get very scared because we have forgotten our mortality and are therefore in shock. Then in shock, not understanding the situation, we are gripped by the fear of death or illness and we try to grab onto something that could keep us safe. This is what hoarding is, a primitive subconscious reaction to try get to a safe place. Sure we need food and toilet paper but if you think it through nothing in life can make us perfectly safe.

We can have relative safety through family, friends, insurance and wealth but if you think it through when the moment of death dawns or we get a fatal illness these things are unable to quarantee our safety. This is common logic.

Buddhist meditation teaches you to know yourself. Knowing oneself means becoming aware of what goes on in our mind. Instead of becoming gripped by fear and anxiety, we can learn to notice how the emotion of fear arises, comes into being. We can be aware of it rather than dictated by it. This becoming aware of emotions makes us become free from their negative power. This changes the way how we react and experience things. Learning this is more precious than gold because it helps us to find our true fearless and non-anxious being that cannot be pushed by emotions and reactions. We all have that fearless, peaceful and grounded potential, it just needs to be recognised.

Through this simple exercise we can find safety that does not depend on external factors or other people.
If we contemplate our mortality and become aware of our arising emotions, we will not try to find safety and happiness from things that can’t provide it. This doesn’t mean we need to get rid of any of these things. Actually to have a loving family, trustworthy friends and money is a great blessing. It’s just that through basic life contemplation our way of being and our way of seeing things changes.

Even in difficult circumstances we can remain calm, clear minded and sincerely joyful. Even at the moment of death we can smile and enjoy, and not be scared. Many people are terrified by death because they have not prepared and acquired understanding. This is merely a matter of knowing who we are and what is going on in our mind.

There are many forms and traditions of buddhism, meditation, mindfulness and meditative yoga out there. Please help yourself and seek instructions and guidance from proficient teachers and organisations.

The point is not to join a religion or a group. The point is to acquire first hand knowledge of ourselves. The point is to make sense of life, to reduce and eradicate unstudied confusions, fears and psychological contraction in our minds.

Thank you for reading and sharing this message. Let’s put an end to the pandemic of fear.

Kim Katami
Pemako Buddhist teacher,