“I had to make you uncomfortable, otherwise you never would have moved.”The Universe
The universe operates by the law of polarities. On the one hand, we have order (positivity, creation, structure), and on the other we have disorder (chaos or disruption). No matter how careful, creative or positive you are, you will experience the opposite pole at some point in your life, which is actually necessary for survival. Real growth doesn’t usually happen when things are going well or when you are in your comfort zone – it happens during periods of adversity.
Disruption or chaos usually manifests in our personal lives, but periodically this phase of disruption happens collectively and can affect millions of people simultaneously. This is what happened in 2020 with the Coronavirus.
At the time of writing, over 40 million people have been infected with the virus. Over 30 million have recovered, but sadly we have experienced more than 1.1 million deaths, the majority of whom have been the older generation or those with pre-existing health conditions, which experts have linked to low vitamin D3 and inflammation. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this pandemic has instigated a global economic downturn the likes of which the world has not experienced since the 1930s’ Great Depression.
Before continuing, I’d like to make clear that it is extremely important to acknowledge the real suffering that has and is still going on around the world. People have lost their lives, people have lost their loved ones and have devastatingly been unable to be by their sides at the end, or even had the chance to said goodbye with a proper funeral. Many people have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet or even feed their families. There is a massive fallback of people experiencing mental illness due to heightened stress and anxiety this pandemic has caused.
Having said all that, if we take a second to shift our attention, there is actually a silver lining that’s come from this situation, should you choose to see it…
Changing the way we work
The majority of the world’s population have been and still are on some form of confinement, spending the bulk of their time working from and staying at home. Many businesses have looked at their system of working from the office and have made the decision that this will no longer be the case. Tech giants Facebook and Twitter, for instance, announced that they will be continuing remote work solutions permanently – something we would never have thought possible before this pandemic!
As a result of more freedom to work from home, working parents are cultivating a better work-life balance. Busy mums and dads now have the ability to spend meals together with their families instead of eating alone at their desks or reaching home too late to make dinner together with their families.
This shift in how we work is having a positive effect on the environment. Fewer cars on the road lead to fewer emissions being omitted into the atmosphere. Companies have started to scale back on office space, welcoming a potential of reallocating space that would have been used for offices to urban farming. This could help to alleviate the problem of food shortage due to a lack of farming space in many built-up areas.
Companies who once sent their employees thousands of miles overseas to make just one meeting are progressing towards online meeting platforms, reducing travel to a compulsory basis. This again means a reduction in carbon emissions, which ultimately will raise the price of air travel and potentially reduce the number of budget airlines – a good thing if you ask any environmentalist!
If we had continued down the path we were on, many environmental experts had predicted we were on a path to self-extermination, destroying our species in as early as 50 years’ time due to climate change, droughts, famine and wars. This pandemic has been the only thing able to force us into rethinking the way we live and work.
An invitation to become present
There is a shift happening in our collective consciousness. People are beginning to awaken and realize that the speed at which we were living did not make sense and did not support the human spirit. More and more people are turning inwards, focusing on and in many cases starting to practice mindfulness and cultivating a relationship with their awareness, or their highest selves.
Spiritual teachers all over the world are calling this time “a period of awakening”. Dr Joe Dispenza is an international lecturer, researcher, corporate consultant, author, and educator, who believes we all have potential for greatness. He thinks we are witnessing an “amazing” time in history, where humanity’s consciousness is finally waking up.
“You’re going to see many paradigms collapse because they can’t sustain themselves in this new era,” he says, adding that we are waking up and we can’t go back to doing things the way we used to.
“What a great opportunity for the Earth to recover. What a great opportunity for people to appreciate the simple things again.”Dr. Joe Dispenza
Ekhart Tolle, author (A New Earth, The Power of Now, Stillness Speaks) and spiritual teacher, believes the virus is giving people a once in a lifetime opportunity to reset, which was “absolutely necessary” because we needed an “evolution of collective consciousness”. According to Tolle, collective consciousness is still trapped in the ego, the part of your mind that tries to control your thinking and behaviour, which is evident in the enormous and unnecessary amounts of conflict going on around the world.
Tolle says the pandemic has been “an invitation to become present,” a state of awareness where you realise the situation in most cases is not unbearable. He explains that if you can accept any given moment as it is, and you go deeper inwards, you will realise that in that moment, no matter how bad it may seem, there is a lot to be grateful for.
“When you experience some form of adversity in your life, it is even more important to be present in the moment because if you don’t, you will suffer a lot.”Eckhart Tolle
Cultivating a spiritual practice
Practicing regular meditation helps us to live in presence awareness rather than in a state of reactiveness. Meditation teacher and spiritual mentor, Danielle Van de Velde, believes we need to look at the time we have been given as an invitation to start a meditation practice and review the areas in our lives which are not necessary nor lifewards.
“In presence we are able to focus on what is real for us in this moment: we are well, our body is strong, we have safe harbour, we have what we need, we have support and connection, we have love in our lives.”Danielle Van de Velde
“We are better able to appreciate the planet rebooting itself through cleaner air, cleaner waters, less toxic rubbish being generated,” Van de Velde says. “We are better able to respond to this in a positive way – by examining what we hoard, what is unnecessary in our lives, what are our meaningful connections and content. We can choose.”
Dispenza explains how daily meditation can lead us to finding solutions to issues we as a species are facing:
“When energy makes it to your heart, you begin to release high levels of oxytocin. You feel an intense amount of love, and you go from being selfish to selfless. If people move from selfish to selfless, and you get everybody doing this because they feel whole, we’re going to come up with solutions from a greater level of consciousness that we’ve never experienced before.”
Changing the way we eat
For many, this awakening and heightening of consciousness has led to a change in what we choose to put into our bodies for nutrition, with many people experimenting with and adopting a more plant-based lifestyle.
As of September, it is estimated there are 78 million vegans around the world, or approximately .01 percent of the world’s population. Guy Edwards works at the Inter-American Development Bank in the climate change division in Washington DC, USA. Like many others, he made the decision to go plant-based when the Coronavirus hit the US, and believes it’s the best decision he’s ever made.
“I think the big deal about going vegan, is that its not a big deal.”Guy Edwards
“I’ve been vegan for eight months now, following lockdown,” Edwards shares. “It’s been great and much less fuss or hassle than anticipated.”
“A global shift to plant-based diets is a key pillar for meeting our climate and biodiversity goals,” he adds. “We have evidence that this shift can create millions of new jobs in plant-based agriculture in Latin America. For a sustainable recovery we need to capitalise on this!”
Animal agriculture is closely linked with the creation of influenza viruses in animals, where they jump from animal to human, mutating and leading to pandemics. Dr. Michael Greger, physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognised speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues, believes that all pathogens to emerge over the last few decades have come from animals.
“The AIDS virus is blamed on the butchering of primates and the bush meat trade in Africa. SARS and COVID-19 have been traced back to the exotic wild animal trade, but our last pandemic, swine flu in 2009, rose out from some back water wet market in Asia, but was largely made in the USA in industrial pig operations.”Dr. Michael Greger
Eating more fibre, which only comes from plant-based foods, is scientifically proven to improve your microbiome and your immune system. According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted, eating a whole foods plant-based diet actually “prevents and in many cases reverses a wide variety of diseases” including heart disease, autoimmune disease, cancer, diabetes, and many others.
When asked if he would ever return to his previous meat-and-dairy-eating lifestyle, Edwards answered, “I don’t think I’ll go back, especially given the ecological emergency we face with species extinction and loss of habitat. God knows we need 7 billion vegans like yesterday!”