Recipe & Ritual | Spices & Herbs

Coronavirus: Meaning in the chaos

One way or another everyone in the world is infected and/or affected by the Coronavirus. My life the same as everyone else has turned upside down since it went #viral(!). I am re-orienteering myself on a daily basis, adapting to people and to the changes as and when our leaders make new announcements. Goals and motivations are in chaos.

In the meantime, I had been connecting with my local community before the Coronavirus hit. Recently I joined a support group to help people who affected most by the Coronavirus. I am also feeling more connected to the world as it is adapting to overcome challenges in a coordinated effort. We are all working together, connecting on a common cause.

I’m not saying its roses, far from it, there are paths that lead to fear that will feed our shadow side, it’s already visible on social media. I want to talk about the other path: there are opportunities of a spiritual kind amidst this crisis, ones that I feel for which our souls have been longing.

Isolation and reflection

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

The prescribed solution to the Coronavirus is isolation, but that should not be confused with loneliness. Loneliness can be a state of being even when we are in a crowded room. While the feeling of connection can be felt in isolation.

Loneliness was a pandemic long before this virus came on the scene. Perhaps this period of isolation can help many of us to discover why.

Many of us can be found running around like headless chickens in our day to day, especially in big cities. I think it’s because we are missing the forest for the trees. We all have a need for connection and meaning in our lives but we easily distract ourselves by trying to fix that by changing our life on its surface, but that does not always mirror what’s happening on the inside. When we do then we become open to the possibility for transformation – that can lead to the authentic feeling of connection.

This time of isolation can be an opportunity for us to bring awareness to what we are really feeling on the inside.

Community and connection

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By chance a couple of months ago I connected with my local community via an app, admittedly, in the beginning, it was because I wanted to talk about my business products and services, but that changed quickly. The community was already moderately active, there was a desire to connect but there was not enough momentum or vulnerability to make meaningful connections.

A short while later Coronavirus came on the scene. The discussions gained weight. People were starting to discuss personal feelings and were even having disagreements in some cases, but overall the spirit was positive and that of support. By the time social distancing had become part of our mainstream culture, the community was thriving. Leaders emerged, large groups of people are offering help to their neighbors, especially to the elderly. Some members expressed their fears and anger, while others were creating a sense of calm. After 4 years of living in my area, I had never felt so connected with my neighbors!

We are organising ourselves to be more effective and physical in our support,.

Looking on the bright side

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Since the outbreak, a lot of positive things have happened, some of which we thought not possible:

  • Pollution: Carbon emissions have dropped by millions of tons!
  • The realisation, that we are all capable of big changes.
  • More people have started growing fruits and vegetables at home.
  • Working in a more adaptable way is becoming more a part of our culture. Stuck in an office on a beautiful day has never made much sense to me!
  • Isolation is having the effect of making us appreciate the other.
  • We have an opportunity to slow down and to take time to do some important soul searching.
  • People at the community level are becoming more connected and self-organising.
  • Financial systems are re-structuring — a universal basic income may be introduced.

What more can we do

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The main thing is to stay alert to the idea that there is something we can do. Here are some practical ideas if you are feeling a little stuck:

  • Connect with and support your local communities, I am using an app called Nextdoor, there are others, and also Facebook groups — or you could start your own group. Offer support. Receive support. Spread the word.
  • Knock on the door of a neighbor, or leave a note to find out how people are doing near where you live. Connect with you local council to get advice on how to help.
  • Avoid listening to the same old news, especially if it is depressing. It’s having an effect on your resilience and immune system.
  • Grow fruit and vegetables. Gardening is known to make us feel good and healthy. Not least, you will have access to your own healthy food.
  • Think about what is really meaningful for you — any creative projects you had been holding back on? Or perhaps a new purpose has recently emerged?
  • Don’t horde — Share your toilet paper! The only way we get through this is together. Have faith.
  • Getting back in touch with people who had dropped off the radar.
  • Going for walks regularly will do a world of good.

Ceremony of food

Photo by Ali Inay on Unsplash

While the food supply chain adapts to the changing demands brought on by the Coronavirus, this is a good opportunity to consider our relationship to food:

  • Unlike some poor places in the world, in the west, our problem has been to eating too much. This can lead to a lack of gratitude which can, in turn, lead to a poor relationship with the world we live in and interact with, and ultimately it leads to an unhealthier mind and body. An organisation called Heartmath has conducted a lot of studies in this area.
  • Fasting, like Intermittent fasting, is a great way to reduce our eating and it also has a great number of additional benefits, including losing weight, lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars! The basis of intermittent fasting is giving the body the appropriate time to recover from the demanding job of digestion and also to reduce unnecessary eating.
  • Turn off the TV and mobile phones and sit down with people to eat. Chew slowly and mindfully. During cooking and meal-times, connect with what you are doing and the people you are doing it with. Food is a time for bonding, don’t miss out on it.
  • Make a ceremony of it. Say a few words before you begin eating, perhaps consider the supply chain as you say some words of gratitude.
  • Stay positive: It helps to optimise our bodies in Absorbing nutrition, Digesting and Flushing out toxins.

Chaos and order

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Chaos is that which we don’t understand, Order is that which is known. We find our purpose as we mediate between these two forces, which leads to our personal growth and finding meaning in our lives. Neither of these forces is stable, and so we have to move with them.

The effects of the Coronavirus is unprecedented, not because of the virus itself but because of globalisation. I don’t think we can turn back to a time before globalisation without dire consequences. So we keep moving forward, in unity, and following the example of nature as we continue to adapt to the chaos of new challenges to create ever higher order.

Personally, I see that the meaning of life comes from making a positive difference in the lives of people around me, and it’s ok if how I do that might now be changing.

Author

Arjun Thandi, “The Ceremony of food is a tenet of my recipe kit business Maasala.co.uk, that I started as a means to share and express the idea of Ceremony. I am also writing a book on the significance of Ceremony in our everyday life. If you would like to follow me you can do so at this link, or ‘clap’ for this article on medium, or simply follow me on Facebook or Instagram.”

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