This morning on my run, I thought about the coronavirus in a new way. My first thought was that a virus is a living thing. The thought that followed had to do with a little spiky foot-exercise ball that I’d gotten a few months ago (photo below) and how much it looks like the virus. I began to wonder if I could “befriend” the virus. Could I embrace it? Could I accept it? Then I wondered what would happen if large groups of people began to send it love. Would it morph? Would it change? Can we love it? I don’t know.
Most of us realize that harboring thoughts of fear, hate, dread, or worry, never improves situations (whether those “situations” have to do with ex-partners, politicians, inconsiderate drivers…the list is endless). Can we think about this virus in the same way? Is it a teacher, or as Rumi writes in his poem, The Guest House, is it a guide from beyond? I don’t know, but I know that when I begin to think about it in this way, I feel lighter inside…more hopeful, more curious.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)