I am a 23 year old living in Hudson Valley New York. It is located about one hour north from Manhattan. I still live with my parents and I have lived here my entire life. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to grow up in such a beautiful place. Admittedly as a child I never admired the beauty of the hilly landscape and soothing green topography around me. I thought it was very much regular and how the entire world was. I was very wrong. It was only when I graduated Highschool that I had a small epiphany and finally noticed how amazing of a place it was to be born and raised. My parents, who are truly amazing and kind hearted, are from Brooklyn, New York. It was when my mother was pregnant with me they moved to the Hudson valley and purchased an 11 acre plot of land with two houses. The one which we live in was built in the year 1900. It’s amazing to think how many world events have transpired from that time to now. World wars, genocides, disease, and international conflicts to name a few. Although the world has made great progress and advances in that time, we face a new crisis.
The Covid 19 Pandemic has been the most influential event to transpire in my lifetime that I can remember. It has been difficult for so many, but for me personally the contrary is true. I was lucky enough to take a vacation to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, just weeks before the Virus reached national attention and the lockdowns ensued. I am grateful I was able to get one last good glimpse of the pre Covid 19 world. But truth be told I will not miss it. Change is the language of the universe. I believe embracing change is one of the most important foundations of living a fulfilling life. In my studies of Tibetan Buddhist, I was lucky enough to learn about the tenant of impermanence and how crucial accepting change is. We have the choice of accepting the externalities of the world and how they impact our internal self. At times we must detach ourselves from what the world is displaying to us. Although there's a time, place and importance to discussing the world's issues, there must be a delicate balance in how we hold discourse on these externalities and how we let those discussions affect us. Maya Angelou once said that “You cannot control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
The time and focus that this lockdown has given me is easily one of the most beneficial and positive things to ever happen to me. The toll of life and pain that this pandemic has caused is cruel and tragic; however, we must always remember that with great sadness comes great happiness. For all those who are suffering; there are those who are prospering, and for all that are sick; there are those that are healthy. It is difficult to focus on the positives when the negatives are so prevalent, but we never must stop doing so. I’d be lying if I said I was an enlightened being that felt no foul effect from the current events that have taken place, but the important thing is that I have not let these events eat away at my faith.
Some may raise their personal concerns/beliefs on social media, which I have done. Some may pray for a better future, which I have done. Some may even smoke pot and try to forget about the world's problems. which I have also done. Out of all of this the most important thing that I have done was deciding that this is not the best path of bringing balance to myself and those around me. Although there is great merit to prayer and raising awareness, the greatest merit is in preparing for what is difficult when it is easy. There are many lessons that the Covid 19 pandemic can teach us, but this idea specifically has impacted me the most. There is a famous quote by Lao Tzu which describes this exact ideology, “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step .”
There is nothing wrong if you are someone who has faced a greater trouble than I have during this event, but I would like to propose a single step that you can take to ease the burdens on your conscience. What I am proposing is very simple, but one of the best things we can do for our health. All I am asking is to embrace the following quote and its implications into your daily life. The quote is “ When we hate our enemies we are giving them power over us: power over sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, and our happiness.” - Dale Carnegie