Climate disruption began to show us our global interconnectedness. Now Corona is highlighting just how interconnected we are on state and community and personal levels. Social distancing could really be called physical distancing, couldn’t it? Loss of physical contact shows us just how much we rely on it for social, emotional and mental well-being. We can no longer hug, or touch, or even stand next to someone. We are cut off from our coworkers and our friends and our family members. We can’t even see faces behind the masks. To discern when someone is smiling, we need to focus on the eyes, the windows of the soul.
We’re practicing social distancing to limit viral spread. Most of us would have a mild a case of COVID if we got it, so our actions are really about protecting the more vulnerable among us. We are taking these actions for the greater good of the whole. We are practicing loving kindness.
I am reminded of the words of the great Persian poet Saadi Shirazi from the 1200s, now written on the wall of the United Nations and translated here from Farsi:
“All human beings are members of one frame,
Since all, at first, from the same essence came.
When time afflicts a limb with pain
The other limbs at rest cannot remain.
If thou feel not for other’s misery
A human being is no name for thee.”
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