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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Fear in the Time of Covid 19

What if fear

was NOT an indictment?

What if fear

was a natural function

of our brainstem?

What if the ideal

contemplative response

to fear…

was neither to repress it

nor to indulge it?

What if the ideal

contemplative response

to fear…

was first

to play with it

like a mischievous cat

with an unfortunate mouse

or like Darth Maul

toying with Obi-Wan Kenobi

after the murder

of Qui Gon Jinn.

Let us play with our fear

by noticing our circumstance,

where fearful situations

play out…

by noticing our bodies,

where we feel our fear,

by noticing

our communication…

verbal language,

body language,

facial expressions…

the way we communicate

to others

as well as our own

inner Rod Serling;

by noticing our minds’ coarse:

emotions, and intentions, and calculations,

and recollections and imaginings…

and also by noticing our minds’

subtle perceptions of: sensation,

and flavor, and scent, and sound,

and sight, and even mind itself.

Let us notice

all those things

NOT actively

but passively…

not analytically

for that is nothing but

our controlling tendencies…


behind the camouflage

of our


What if the ideal

contemplative response

to these times

of real peril…

was NOT only

to notice

in harmony

with our inhalation…

BUT also

to physically relax

in harmony

with each exhalation

for that is the nature

of our factory-installed


a gift,

if you will,

of evolutionary biology.

For by cooperating

with our neurology

and physically relaxing…

even just a little bit,

in coordination

with each exhalation…

we could observe our mind

releasing its grasp…

as if our circumstance,

both actual and potential,

were a heavy bowling ball…

slathered in coconut grease

and slipping inevitably

from between our palms.

What if we played

with these contemplations


by the whispered recitation

of the twelve syllable mantra?

And like an adolescent

on a skateboard

who after several pushes

coasts for a while…

likewise we could harness

the psychic momentum

of these relaxations…

to contemplate

how our fearful circumstance,

and our fearful emotions…

and our bodies

which feel these fears,

and our mind

which perceives these fears…

could seem even a little


with each exhalation.

We could continue

our mantra fueled


and explore…

how although this adventure

could feel solid,

and permanent,

during each inhalation

during each exhalation

this adventure

that we find ourselves in…

could feel

as NON-graspable

as a vast, empty, void

like a paradise,

comprised only of light…

or like a buddha’s body,

comprised only of light,

or like a mantra,

comprised only of light,

of like a seed syllable,

also comprised only of light.

We could flow

with the stream

of these contemplations…

and indulge our mid-brains’

tendency towards empathy

and give ourselves permission…

to wish

with altruistic


that for ourselves,

and our neighbors,

and all earthlings,

and all beings of all worlds…

that each of their circumstances

were as fortunate

as a buddha’s paradise,

that each of their bodies

was as blissful, and healthy,

and strong, and long-lived

as a buddha’s body,

and we could also wish

that all communication

was as peaceful, and as wise

as a buddha’s mantra,

and that each mind

was likewise

as joyful, and as loving,

as a buddha’s seed syllable.

After harnessing

all that neurotic energy

with the tools

of love and letting go…

we could shift gears

and enter into a silent practice

where we passively watch

the play of mind…

and actively relax

into its

NON-graspable nature.

We could do that,

and simply sit,

for ten, or twenty,

or thirty, or even forty minutes.

And then

we could rouse ourselves

by silently reviewing…

our minds,

and communication,

and bodies,

and circumstances…

through the lens

of love

and letting go;

like Han Solo

gently shuffling Sabacc cards

across the table

from Lando Calrissian.

Then having successfully

extracted our heads

from the warm, dark places

they sometimes wander off to…

we could open our selves

to comfort others

however we can.

This is why we explore

the Buddha’s

Contemplation and Compassion…

that we

like Obi Wan Kenobi

might meditate

like a jedi

Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action

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