Now that we have a lot of time for ourselves to reflection, be more mindful, and prioritize what is truly important to us in this period, it is also an opportunity to express gratitude. The Buddha emphasizes the important of mindfulness or awareness – being self-aware and aware of our surroundings. With mindfulness, we begin to understand what there is to be grateful for as well. Fostering gratitude in our daily lives can help us practice mindfulness. Being grateful of the small things is important because as the Buddha teaches, we do not know how much time we have left and thus should use it wisely. We should not put things off (like building/mending relationships, acting with kindness and compassion). The present is always the right time to act. One of the ways we can do this is through gratitude by taking a step back, and seeing what is in front of us (what we are privileged with). This is ultimately focusing on the positive aspects of our lives and even though this may seem like a negative time to be in, there are always things we can celebrate. Here is a video I found interesting and possibly helpful for others in the midst of the virus. Enjoy!
Kept in isolation, especially from our loves ones makes us grateful for the relationships we have. We are also more mindful of all the privileges we have. In chapter 6, we examine the importance of urgency in the context of reaching enlightenment. We need to be urgent because there is a major uncertainty of how much time we have to live. Anything could happen in a year, tomorrow, or the next minute. This is why we have to realize what we need to achieve in this life time and how we can develop as compassionate and kind individuals. I personally have been thinking a lot about the significant role people play in my life. This pandemic was very unexpected, yet it is easily for us to take our relationships for granted. Thus, treating others with mindfulness everyday, even when the pandemic dies down is something we can all think about. “Urgency” to create and maintain special relationships with others is a reoccurring thought I am having throughout this unique experience.
My takeaway in Chapter 3 is helping others. In time of worries, stress, and fear, we tend to become more emotional and it is important for us to depend on each other. This dependence can take any form: emotional, mental, and physical. The following texts stood out to me: “I am medicine for the sick. May I be both the doctor and their nurse, until the sickness does not recur” (21) and “May I be a light for those in need of light. May I be a bed for those in need of rest. May I be a servant for those in need of service, for all embodied beings” (22). We can be mentally strong for each other and make the effort to provide those in need. I have read multiple stories online about people fighting for necessities like toilet paper or protection like face masks. This is not the time to resort to violence nor think of ourselves in selfish ways. The other day, via phone call, my mom learned that her friend did not have any face masks. Face masks can be very expensive due to its high demand and although my mom did not have a lot, she offered to send some to her. This pandemic is something we are all experiencing – it’s a shared experienced. If we are able to help others, we should do so.