A Zen master was teaching his students one day and one student asked, “Is there anything that I can do to make myself enlightened?” The Zen master replied and said; “As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.” The students then asked, “Then what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?” And the Zen master said this; “To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”
This applies to our spiritual maturity as well to our innate immune system. If we are in tune with our physical bodies, we are positioned to be aware, to recognize, and to respond, and then eventually recover from things like exposure to foreign toxins and pathogens.
As we are all being challenged by the stay-at-home order and social distancing policies in the face of the Covid 19 pandemic, and amid Easter and Passover and the promise of spring’s renewal, many of us are wondering and searching for meaning, direction, and what the future holds for us all. I have been moved by all the wonderful acts of kindness, compassion, and selfless giving by so many, especially all the healthcare workers doing all they can to save lives. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
Personally, I feel compelled to do all I can to help, in both big and small ways, mostly by bringing awareness to the power of plant medicines as a first-line defense against any pathogenic threat or invader. This is motivated by a deep desire to relieve the tremendous pain and suffering from the mounting state of illness I see. Shamefully, these humble and effective remedies used by other cultures for centuries have been largely overlooked in the era of modern-day medicine. Meanwhile, there is so much unnecessary death and suffering as people readily look to pharmaceutical solutions like vaccines and antibiotics for every symptom or ailment and suppress their immune systems in the process, thereby compromising their long-term health. If they would only give God’s pharmacy a chance! To me, nature’s remedies are God’s gift to humanity because they work harmoniously with the body. I like to think of medicine as being very musical and intuitive. Unitive medicine creates harmony in healing, like a great musical ensemble where the Life force is the orchestrator and the herbs are the symphony, listening and improvising accordingly.
With the Coronavirus casting a dark shadow over the entire world, where can ‘the Light’ be found? I believe that within the Light, hope and love are shining through, a reflection of a unified society of oneness or togetherness – but it has to start inside each of us. What are we to learn while we live in isolation? Within the silence of isolation can come a deep longing for a rebirth of intimate connection between each and every one of us. My hope and prayer is that through loving relationships, I come to know oneness with God more deeply. This time of being home for an extended period provides us with an opportunity to pray, either alone, or with a partner or our families. Prayer irrigates the heart, which can pour more love and light into the world. As much as I love helping people heal and get well, being that I am a Secular Franciscan, it is the close spiritual relationships that I develop when caring for someone that really draws me to the work I do.
Please join me in praying for healing in the world, for the sick and those living alone as well as a rebirth within each of us and our world. I ask the Lord to purify our hearts, give us wisdom, and provide us the Light to heal, which is nourished by LOVE.
May you have a blessed and happy Pascha, Passover, and Spring renewal!