How many of those of you remember the 1950’s sci-fi movie: The Day the Earth Stood Still?
If you recall a UFO lands in Washington, D.C., bearing a message for Earth's leaders, all of humanity stands still. As a young boy, it was just another movie about the world threatened by aliens. However, it had a deeper meaning, which seems to be playing out today, not in terms of aliens arriving from another world that is. But an alien virus (Covid-19) delivering a message to humanity. One of my favorite lines from the movie is “I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.” We are witnessing this play out every day; how fear, loneliness, and despair is gripping our very human existence. Some are using it for self-promotion, politically gain, and/or economical power. Others see it as a time to renew our sense of humanity as a world.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi
The message in the movie warns us about the threat that humanity poses to itself with nuclear weapons. I would argue that the Covid-19 is warning us of how much we have moved away from our state of humanity. In the movie, the world is depicted as driven by negative emotions and desires, including fear, aggression and blind ambition. Like the movie maybe this is a wake up call to find our way back to our essence of being. Yes, maybe the slowing of time is introducing us back to our state of being and true self-awareness. The constant distractions of business and activities which encompassed our time and life are no longer there. We are forced to stop and find our own sense of self awareness of who we truly are as humans of the world. Our ability to be dominant and control the things around us have been almost completely taken away. Our schedules and calendars lay dormant without any gatherings and events planned. Churches, Synagogues, and Mosques are closed for worship. Public Community events are not allowed and sporting and entertainment stand empty. Isolation and loneliness are now the challenge. We are forced to face our feelings and emotions strait in the face and choose acceptance and patience.
“We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully conscious we discover loneliness. We need others physically, emotionally, and intellectually. We need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.”
C. S. Lewis
What have we been missing in our daily lives? The slowing of time has made us feel like everyday is the same in some respects. Our forced isolation is having a profound effect on our collective psyche and the fall out will be tremendous both economically and mentally. I am hopeful though we are also finding a renewal in our spiritual being. The truth always lies within us. We need to be open to the pain and suffering of all our fellow human beings. We also must carry the spirit of those who are putting their life on the line to serve the better of humanity. Also, we must feel the loss of those who are grieving for their loved ones who are sick and dying. All of this will bring us closer perhaps to “Why” we are here together. If we make good use of this moment, because time is truly precious this may be a call for revival of life and being…teaching us patience and sharing of love and reminding us of our humility.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ― Mother Teresa
The pandemic has forced us to stop time and focus on who we really are as people of the world. The restoring of the being only can be found by stopping the self-absorbed focus on materialist things. Have we lost our sense of our spirituality? The things that are undefined and not measured by dollars… however are found at the very core of humans. Spirituality is discovered once we understand that control and desire have no effect upon the experience of love, happiness, and, fulfillment in our lives.
“Who would then deny that when i am sipping tea in my tearoom i am swallowing the whole universe with it and that this very moment of my lifting the bowl to my lips is eternity itself transcending time and space?” ― d.t. Suzuki, zen and Japanese culture
Finding the joys of family and friendship and how important they truly are in our life are just some of the things we have started to experience at another level for the first time. Discovering that those jobs, careers, and possessions while have their place but do not determine our true happiness nor ultimately fulfill us. During this unprecedented time the pandemic is making it noticeably clear that we most think about the greater good of what humanity can give to the world. How yes we are individuals but collective we need to love as "One".
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” – Eckhart Tolle
Another famous line from the movie is Klaatu’s response which makes clear that he is not concerned with siding with any one group or country. He dramatically states his perspective: “I’m not concerned, Mr. Harley, with the internal affairs of your planet,” he says. “My mission here is not to solve your petty squabbles. It concerns the existence of every creature on Earth.” Much like the virus takes no sides and cares not about race, religion, nor economic status …leaving us with no where to go other than to look within ourselves.
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
― Eckhart Tolle
In the end, the people of earth who have emotional wisdom help Klaatu get his message to humanity, so the earth can be saved. As like today, humanity must unite for one purpose to defeat the enemy and restore our ability to love ourselves and each other. Putting our egos and agendas aside for the greater good is not what we have to do, it is what we must do!