Among All The COVID Negatives, Positive Wisdom Can Emerge - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Author

Thomas DiGrazia

Thomas DiGrazia is director, peacemaker, collaborative lawyer and counsellor-at-law at the Mediation Center in Windward Oahu.

We are now into September and the COVID-19 virus has claimed the lives of around 190,000 U.S. citizens and has currently infected over 6 million of our people with no end in sight.

COVID has sharpened our focus on how collectively unhealthy we Americans are. The rampant incidence in America of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dietary abuses and lack of exercise and the accompanying related illnesses among us have been negatively hijacked by COVID-19.

This hijacking has been created and worsened by design, ignorance and omissions in our nation’s predominant lifestyle in 21st-century America. This lifestyle of ill health and the adverse preexisting health conditions it manifests have made us extremely susceptible to this contagion.

Our present federal government has also stripped away our democratic veneer. Our politics — particularly on the national level — have become extremely factionalized.

We are all in this life, in this planetary space and time, together. Flickr: Kevin Gill

For instance the politically metaphoric concept of Red and Blue states, parties, groups and individuals are more often now the perspective lenses through which many Americans observe the world. This fragmented perspective — us versus them, the “others” — includes traditional and obvious issues such as race, religion, immigration, and mass proliferation of guns.

Yet this cultural divide now embraces fear-based COVID-related concerns. These concerns currently include wearing masks, social responsibility for others, and whether children go to school or workers return to work.

This us versus them tribalism is reflected in our social media. Every human act, foible, error, statement or tendency — real, imagined or perceived — has become subject to instant social media support or scorn and mockery.

The Cyber Jury

Increasingly, the cyber jury of our peers either expresses fanatic agreement or disagreement with the views emerging over the Internet or on Twitter; you are either woke or an ignorant fool, thumbs either condemn or applaud you.

This invisible jury of critics — perhaps with unresolved personal issues — most often having little or no physical, intellectual or prior historical background in the matter at hand, needs to autocorrect itself so as not to be complicit in making or breaking careers, reputations and lives, or diminishing vigorous yet respectful democratic dialogue among competing perspectives.

All Americans need to understand our communal 99.9% human DNA similarities, as well as our spiritual connection to each other as we spin together through a very lonely universe on a very environmentally fragile planet.

We need to hone our nonviolent peacemaking skills and mindfully consider the viewpoints of others. We do not need more cyber jurists. We do need more activated peace builders. We need to realize our collective social failure to be nonjudgmental and to dialogue with those of differing perspectives.

We can lament these fearsome and conflicted cultural bubbles and tribal tendencies that divorce us from our human and democratic need to effectively manage diversity and unity of purpose. These conflict-ridden tendencies defeat our common interest in human reciprocal kindness — which has been the hallmark of Homo sapiens evolution.

Lamenting seems appropriate in the absence of national leadership that promotes unity, justice and equity for all Americans, while awaiting the full development of grass roots leadership.

Alternatively, while our nation, world and individual lives are on a pause setting, we can take this opportunity to “die” to the past. That’s a heavy yet necessary assignment.

And that psychological dying to the past — to memories, habits, policies, traditions and illusions — includes racism and economic exploitation and inequality. This psychological death will help to free us from the thinking mind and create space in our body-minds for meditation, mindfulness, creative lives and relationships — a more aware and conscious human being.

All of the ancient philosophies and disciplines have focused on cultivating greater discernment in our lives: The concept of being able to identify the Truth as the truth, the False as the false, or the Truth within the False is our mission. This ability has been lost, forgotten or underutilized by us modern day humans due to our endless pursuit of financial and psychological security.

The constant treadmill of getting ahead or secure makes us overly dependent on our thinking, reptilian minds. Our brain’s meditative, more mindful and observant abilities — that are designed for equal balance with a mind full of mostly repetitive thoughts stemming from memory, the past — is mostly nonfunctional in everyday life. So the unacknowledged blessing of COVID-19 is being forced to hit life’s pause button.

Moderation in all things.

If we so choose, we presently have some space between our never-ending cascading thoughts to be more observant, not grasping at diversions from reality through addictions and entertainment. Such detachment can allow us to be more deeply connected to others in searching for personal, social and political truth in this precious moment in time.

In this election year, our need to elect moderate leadership that seeks unity out of the diversity of the American democratic experiment has never been greater. For those seeking revolutionary change in leadership please consider first one’s own inner revolution.

Is there balance between one’s intellectual and meditative mind? Is your truth-knowing and discernment level being fully utilized and developed? Is your mind able to be a focused observer of facts, both objective reality and alternative based — of what is happening right now? As the Romans and modern day Italians have long stated concerning life: “La moderazione in tutte le cose” (or moderation in all things).

Let’s vote in full consciousness so that we can move together as one nation with common interests, and not as divided rival entities at cross purposes with each other. We need to manifest from our deepest cultural collective roots kindness and togetherness, instead of condemnation and uninformed discernment.

Among all the COVID-19 negatives, let’s see a positive wisdom emerging: We are all in this life, in this planetary space and time, together.

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About the Author

Thomas DiGrazia

Thomas DiGrazia is director, peacemaker, collaborative lawyer and counsellor-at-law at the Mediation Center in Windward Oahu.

Latest Comments (0)

Your piece has many precious nuggets of wisdom, and I truly hope that your belief that we can be better is well-founded. In any case, thank you for a dose of positivism and a reminder to strive to be better.

paulo · 1 year ago

For me you are preaching to the choir. Preach on brother.Unfortunately there are those that would quickly dismiss it as blue colored, liberal hoo-ha. Blame the internet and/or mass and social media, our political thinking has devolved to blind allegiance.So if your words made anyone go hmmm... let me think about it, you hit your mark.

73Surfrider · 1 year ago

Mahalo for this appeal - so well written and inspiring hope. I hesitate to pick up that ever-present digital device and connection to the world beyond - over a first cup of coffee in the morning -  knowing that,  as I sip, the challenges of life on this (only) planet available to us, human and otherwise, hangs by a thread. Your piece stirs optimism.

PuuHolua · 1 year ago

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