Yet here in Switzerland, and many places around the world, we are faced with the whole theme of a virulent virus. Many are reacting in fear and panic. Why?
We are constantly in contact with viruses and bacteria all the time since we began our life's journey on earth. Over 5 years ago, I remember watching a documentary about life on earth, called "Home" by Yann Arthus-Betrand, a photographer very well known for his aerial images of the earth before the age of drones. (Yes, a time not so long ago when you needed to fly in a plane/helicopter to capture aerial images). Do watch it, it's really well-made and educational! There was a description of cyanobacteria, the first lifeform on earth. That sparked a curiosity in me about bacteria, which we are taught so early in life to fear. Over the last few years, there has been other views in regard to "good" bacteria in our digestive system that aid in our digestion and even in our brain.
Since the start of the year, due to conditions in China, I was more interested in viruses, what they are, how they affect us and maybe that they are not always "enemies" to humans. Unlike bacteria, they are not classified as living beings by some scientists, as they need a host to survive. I read an article in Cosmos Magazine asking the question, "What came first, cells or viruses?" I finally found a different view of viruses, that it may be that without them, life wouldn't be here on earth as we know it. It speculates that a primitive mammal form that existed 100 million years ago, was aided by a viral infection to help the evolution of the placenta to be fused to the uterus, what was not present before, allowing the fetus to be nourished by its mother. Thus, mammals, such as humans, evolved till this day with this trait. I also found another article about bacteriophages being used in the treatment against drug-resistant bacteria.
So often I find that it is simply too easy to just blame a bacterium or a virus for an illness. Maybe they are much more than just parasites that want to infect us, living beings, to gain from us. Maybe they are beings far more evolved than we are and are aiding us in our growth, physically, emotionally and spiritually. How often is it that we make choices to work more or do more than our energy capacity can hold. Then comes the flu symptoms and we are in bed with a fever, resting, not able to do anything else except to sleep and drink the fluids we should have drunk so we wouldn't become sick in the first place.
About 6 years ago, my mother passed away. I travelled to Malaysia, to be present with her and my family before she passed. After the funeral, I returned home to Switzerland, back to my own family, to work and life here. I knew then that I would need some time to grieve but my vacation was planned for a couple of months later due to my kids' school schedule. About 2 months after her death, I had a fever, which I hadn't had in years. I could do nothing but lay, drink fluids and sleep. I took herbs to aid healing and then just laid. I got better within 2 days but became aware that I just needed to have time and space for my own healing process. A week later, I was on my vacation by the sea and the space I needed to have in grieving became present. I learned something more at that point too, I learned that death is part of life. The moment we are born, we are destined in this lifetime to die. The sooner we accept that and live this life on the path we are meant to be on, instead of avoiding death, the easier it gets.
I recall a story I heard of as a teenager, as I sat on a Sunday morning in church, that really touched me and has stayed with me since then. It is called the "Appointment in Samarkand," a story on the Silk Road often orally passed on, in which sometimes the cities are different. It goes like this:
"A man is in the market in Burkhara to buy some things, when he sees Death waving at him. He is extremely shocked and scared for his life, runs back home to get on his horse. He flees on it but not before he tells his boss that he saw Death and he needs to flee to Samarkand. Later that day, his boss goes to the market and sees Death. His boss decides to ask Death why he waved at his employee. Death tells him, 'I waved at him as I was so surprised to see him here in Burkhara this morning. I have an appointment with him in Samarkand this evening.'"
I recall having these images; colorful market, camels, horses and big, black Death with his/her black cloak and scythe. These intrigued me then and I have had a few more opportunities to hear this tale again over the years. I realized that it is a reminder to us, that destiny's path is the path we are on no matter how much we try to run away from it and in fact, running away brings us ever nearer to it. Human and all living beings on earth are mortal beings. The only thing that is certain in this lifetime as soon as we are born is that we will die at some point, whether we want to accept it or not.
What have I learned throughout my life so far is to live now, be brave and be free. A virus may be out there at the moment but so is the sun, the trees and much more.
Image Cherry Blossom by Elaine