More people now than ever are searching for a way to attain wellbeing. We live in a time of fear. Fear arises due to uncertainties, especially when it comes to our mortality. The global pandemic is also threatening our usual way of survival. The impact of COVID 19 is palpable. How can we attain wellbeing during this extraordinary time of the viral outbreak?
Fear comes from Thought
The curbing of social activities and penalties enforced for not observing social distancing is causing people to use social media more to communicate. It does not help that the media is imbued with news of the coronavirus. Our minds give weight to events we can immediately recall. The continuous cycle of COVID 19 updates in the media spreads fear faster than the virus itself. Fear is a feeling. Feelings are caused by thoughts. Therefore, the best way to face our fears is to look at our thoughts and to change them. Although it is our thoughts that cause the feelings we have, it is our feelings that cause us to act.
Calming Your Mind
It is hard for some of us to change our thoughts. That is because most of us have constant thoughts running in our minds, as we attend to one activity after another. Attaining wellbeing depends on our ability to be able to first stop our minds from continuously churning thoughts. To do this, we have to train the mind to keep returning to an object of attention. Usually, the breath is chosen because we neither like nor dislike the breath – so it does not churn any strong feelings. The breath is neutral and it is always there for us to pay our attention to. Once the mind is calmed, it will gradually become aware.
Changing Your Thoughts
Changing your thoughts towards wellbeing involves questioning the thoughts you think. We usually accept the thoughts we think as real and true. Seldom do we question even the most mundane of thoughts such as “money is hard to come by” or “it is hard to find love”. Rather, we spend our time questioning other people’s thoughts and defending our own. This time of social distancing and lockdown is actually a good time to spend time with ourselves and look at our thoughts. We can see if thoughts are indeed the precursor of feelings. We would never think well of someone and have a bad feeling about them, right?
When we start questioning our thoughts, we can trace to see where that thought/belief came from. We can start to become clear if our beliefs were influenced by our parents while we were children, and if these beliefs have helped us at all in our life experience and choices.
Facing Your Fear
The good thing about facing our fear is, once we decide to face them, the fear usually disappears. It is like turning around to look at that growing monster you thought was following you, but once you look at it, you realise there is nothing there but your own beliefs. Most of us fear death. It would be a good time to review our lives now, during this pandemic to question why we fear death? Do we fear it because we have not been living our lives with a clear mind making clear choices? Or are we afraid of losing our loved ones? Are we unable to accept the very fact of life – that when there is birth, death follows?
Perhaps death is just a change? Without change, would we be where we are now? Change is pervasive in our lives. You may have someone you love here today but gone tomorrow. This may not even be death that separates. A good friend may turn into a stranger tomorrow. But we always grow from changes and learn from impermanence. If we start becoming mindful in our lives, we might live a less confusing life and become clear in our lives’ goals and purpose so that when the time comes, we leave with no fear or regrets.