image credit: Matthew Woodley
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I’ll meet you there. ~Rumi
There is a movement afoot underneath the chaos, confusion and unkindness that has surfaced as the COVID Pandemic has raged on. We have all noticed people’s shadow become more amplified and projected onto other’s who do not share their views. Our ‘cancel culture’ is spreading faster than COVID and creating an unkind society, and this is not good. For those of us who were born in the sixties, this level of isolation and exclusion from one another feels foreign. We were always able to debate constructively, agree to disagree, and discuss differences of opinion to gain greater perspective and understanding. We never ignored evidence or disrespected one another for differences of opinion, for the most part. Today, evidence is replaced with belief, and difference of opinion is used to separate and exclude. It’s very sad and very scary.
I invite all of us to move out of our triggers just for a few moments a day, and exhale, regain perspective and evaluate where we are from a wider and larger context, one that is inclusive and projects out beyond what we want, believe or think we know. Scientific evidence has always been at the forefront of Medicine, guiding physicians and public health with transparency of data. As physicians, evidence is the hallmark, the touchstone of providing guidance and safety to our patients. Our personal beliefs take a back seat to the evidence presented, especially if a clinical trial is well conducted, and conclusions are unequivocal and even contrary to our beliefs or opinions. Scientific evidence has always guided us to keep our patients safe and promote public health.
We are at a true crossroads as a society, one that may even determine the fate of humanity and the planet. In the last 200 years, we have altered our ecosystem, our physical, mental and spiritual health, and the health of our planet for the worse. Our oceans are polluted, our ice-caps are melting and species all over the world are being decimated. The percentage of acute and chronic diseases is staggeringly high, and starting earlier in life. We must step back and pay heed to the level of consciousness we are living from. Are we aligned with our inner-knowing and the environment we live in? What are our values? Do we have the courage to live lightly, to pursue self-knowledge, to confront our shadow? Do we have the courage to transform and grow, to seek meaning, to live from integrity, to do what’s right for ourselves, others and the planet?
The answers to these questions are personal, collective and critical to ask right now, and we must ask them and live them out in our daily lives, fully knowing that the impact of our behaviors affect not only us but humanity itself. None of us lives in isolation. Every choice matters and sets off a ripple into the world. More than ever before, we have a responsibility to model integrity to one another, set healthy boundaries, learn how to care for one another and the environment we live in. If we eat unhealthy food, we get sick, if we treat Nature in unhealthy ways, it gets sick, if we don’t seek self-knowledge, our psyche gets sick.
Nature is designed to auto-regulate. When we don’t live consciously, we are not in touch with this fact. It has always been this way and it always will. We need to start where we are, do what we can, and in even small ways, awaken to living more consciously. Performing daily acts of kindness, staying in our heart, behaving from compassion and empathy, all of these ways of being can begin to heal the damage and destruction we have caused.
Staying connected through our hearts despite our differences takes courage. So does putting beliefs aside in favor of evidence. Fighting with another is a cowards way out. It takes one to make war and two to make peace. These are age old strategies that we must live from, especially now. We need them more than we ever have. We all must do our part.
I leave you with a link to a beautiful short film called Blessings.
I hope it will inspire you as much as it has inspired me.
©October/September2021 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife (2nd Edition), Medial Press, 2014. Dr. Kumar is currently accepting new patients. Call 262.695.5311 for an appointment, either virtual or in-person for those free of symptoms.