The outbreak of a global pandemic seemed as good a time as any to begin microdosing MDMA and LSD. Ego-dissolving empathy-inducing party drugs. A little big of help lightening the heart in the midst of global depression. Be the light, even if you need to add a few extra batteries.

The thing is, we don’t need batteries so much as breath. Just got to keep on breathing. So necessary, so easy to forget. Rather than the 10 days of insight-inducing vipassana, we have been given unending quarantine, which is basically the same thing, if you choose to drive it that way. If you choose to fight the reality being presented to you, rather than again bowing your head and saying thank you to all the connected forces of this universe, which have indeed given us the bitter pill of much-needed internal reflection.

All of our events, all our experiences, all our distracting social engagements. We are grounded, just like we used to be in high school when we stayed out past our curfew. And though this is not meant to undermine the very real consequences of a global pandemic, it is good to pay heed to what is in our mind. Is it fear, or acceptance?

Ultimately, in order to master a virus, we need to embrace it. As long as we pretend it is something separate from us, we are missing the point. The very biology of the virus enables it to become a part of us, and without even deciding, we are forced into a negotiation, a conversation of rights, a reevaluation of how resources are being distributed in the system that is ourself. And right now that is a self that extends beyond nation-states. It is an amazing political lesson for the far right, to see that the very people that they don’t want to provide services to because they “aren’t citizens” will quite possibly end up furthering the rates of infection amongst the people that are. Because are are all connected by the atmosphere that encircles this entire planet, and that atmosphere requires no passport to cross borders.

This virus is questioning our foundational response to life. Are we fearful? Or full of faith?

Suddenly we notice everything. Did that man cough? Is she herself today? And are these thoughts going through our minds with a sense of compassion, or rather the opposite, as threats to our well-being. Suddenly the value of our own life seems so much more than everyone else.

Self-worth and anxiety are the general themes anyway. Though they are so often confused by and with our projections. But a true sense of self-worth, which come from feeling valued, what can be more priceless? And unraveling the root of our anxiety, our fear and discontent – what else can we want for beyond that?

It is as if we are each given two seedlings when we are born – the self-worth tree, and the contentment tree. No one tells us how to take care of them, and maybe they are in better or worse condition when we get them, but in the end, it is up to us to take care of them, and hopefully live to see them thrive. But we need to have that hunger. The desire to go on.

The sun shows its face defiantly through fast-moving clouds and people all look around, wondering if the other has it. I contemplate the possibility that I do, that it is already a part of me, and I a part of it, breathing in and out the shared oxygen of our environment. There’s nothing to do but keep breathing, breathe better, be stronger. Rest is not rescinding in this case.

By that time, we were all in it together. At least, some of us, that is. Those we allowed in. But really we would have allowed anyone in, even if they were sneezing. They were just too afraid to leave the house. Unconditional love came to mind at this point. Healing all these inner parts of us, and the inner parts of our parents, and their elders before that. How we’re all connected, all the time, this infinite legacy, of suffering and support. For these are not easy times, but they are rich. So full of depth and softness. Vulnerable strength of our combined beating organs.

Heartbeat, and breath. Like this we are all connected. And then in the same moment, returned to our own minds, our heart’s history, all our bruises and blemishes. Trust, in what, you say? Our continuation? Our failing? Our death? Only that we can be sure of. And maybe there is enough in that to go on. Steps on the asphalt, leaves falling off of trees, wind swirling them around. All these things that maybe we could otherwise miss. Maybe you think i come and go and change my ways, but really, I am always the same thing. A heart beating, slow breathing, steps on asphalt or maybe grass this time.