I had a dream that a friend of mine had buried someone in my front yard. It was someone my friend didn't like, someone they deemed “weak". In the dream, it’s obvious that the front yard has been dug up and something has been buried. There’s an area that has no grass, and there’s a bit of a mound. My friend is insisting that no one will notice, and I 'm shocked that he could think so. The body is hidden in plain sight.
So I ask: what are the weak parts of myself that I’ve buried, that are hidden in plain sight? What is my own feeling/judgment toward weakness?
Weakness means vulnerability and I don’t generally want to be vulnerable – not mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. Yet in this moment, I’m faced with it: I have a sprained ankle, there’s a pandemic, my income is shrinking, I’m home ALONE for another month. That’s more weakness and vulnerability than suits me.
The entire world has heightened weakness and vulnerability in our faces right now. This is personal and collective. The world has always despised weakness, and yet we are all weak right now. The virus has brought the world to its knees. I find myself questioning the ones who have so much, too much (my judgment), who are fleeing to second homes and buying ventilators for themselves, though they have yet to contract the virus. I question how there are those who can fly away in private jets and get their groceries delivered - who have access to tests. At the same time I read an article written from the slums of Mumbai, “Social Distancing is a Luxury”, as one million people in one square mile all breathe the same infectious air.
Will the virus level the playing field? Will soulless institutions grind to a halt? What are we to do in the face of such utter weakness, when all systems are breaking down, shoving vulnerability down our throats? Some fight. Some repent. Some put fists in the air, others drop to our knees. Can we (I) allow such vulnerability? Do I have the guts to face my utter helplessness and surrender? Will I be humbled, or fight like I’m at war? Or both? What is required, I'm not sure.
And collectively? Will it remain true, yet again, that the wealthy will protect themselves while the poor die. Why??? Will this ever change? What is the pearl hidden deep within this period of collective trauma? Must we collectively face DEATH? Isn't death the one thing we fear the most? Certainly, the aging process makes us weaker and weaker and weaker – on the outside. Do we heed the call to find life within and allow the outer identity to die, to be shed? Oh, the pain of it! How desperately we cling to what is visible. Still, the seed must go into the ground and rot in order to bring life. Death and life are simultaneous.
This is what I mean by facing death and letting everything go. All safety, everything familiar. Leaving behind everything known. The simultaneity of life and death is known to those who are poor, homeless, terminally or mentally ill. Our spiritual communities talk about dying before you die, about surrender. These “unfortunates” KNOW what this is in real time. It is the worst fear of our society at large. And yet it is often the way of our great mystics, artists and innovators. Not all who undergo such deprivation transform it into genius. Some go mad. Most simply become invisible, but they know these depths, and they do live authentically. Blessed are the poor in spirit, they shall see God.
No wonder the fear. There are those who have faced the ineveitability of helplessness and powerlessness - two have not just faced it, but have lived it. There are those who realize there is no death, yet can their voices be heard at a time like this? Or is it complete nonsense to speak of such things: of letting go of all certainty in a world already seized with fear, a world that despises weakness in all its apparent ugliness.
Isn’t the corona virus showing us all how powerless we are individually; how our once powerful institutions all appear to have egg on their faces? Who is weak now? Can we even allow the notion of our smallness to creep into our psyche, or do we fight with pride as our weapon? Do we make this another war to be fought? What if we actually allowed everything to fall apart, to die? Like a forest that has been burnt to the ground. Then what?
Here it is…all of our worst fears buried right here in the front yard, hidden in plain sight. Where does destruction end before the new life begins? When does the precise moment of new life come? When is the moment of conception? Is this it?