Being asymptomatic, and knowing almost no one who is or has been symptomatic, let alone diagnosed with COVID-19, I am focusing on being careful with what I consume. Unmindful consumption causes suffering, and I remain “committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society, by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming.”, quoting Thich Nhat Hahn in his book The Art of Power. I like to pretend that I am something like a coiled spring, ready to release my energy as soon as the stay-at-home order is lifted, and in fact, I have pledged that I will take a minimum two-night bicycle tour within one week of that order’s end, most likely to South Lake Tahoe and back via Plymouth and Mormon-Emigrant Trail. I will bicycle slowly, in peace, the spring analogy being used only to describe the departure timing, and not the pace of travel. Hopefully, I will enjoy the company of others, perhaps my 17 year old son, who struggles with boredom with anything that lasts beyond 90 minutes thus far. Piano practice is getting my time, roughly 2 hours/day, about a quarter of which is drills designed to provide smooth and even playing. In all things, including bicycling and piano, it is very helpful to have an intended pathway, a planned route and/or repertoire to follow. Such plans and the faith in all things necessary to see them through provide necessary light. Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata. Joplin’s Elite Syncopations. Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Chopin’s A-flat Etude. All are very inviting, and I play (with) them.
What surprises me most during this time of pandemic? I am tempted to say that toilet paper collecting seems to be more popular than singing, yet equally surprising, and more of value here is likely the merit of equanimity, of being able to hold judgement and sit still, continuing to observe, despite the rollercoaster of praise/blame, gain/loss, fame/disrepute, pleasure/pain. We suffer what we love, especially when what we love gets threatened and/or removed. I see freedom-lovers in Michigan protesting the confinement in their capital and believe that they will suffer because of this protesting more than they would have
had they not protested. I am not saying that the protesting is unwise, but that it likely leads to suffering. A fox caught by its tail by a hanging trap will not advance its cause by thrashing about with wanton force, only tightening the knot. Time is needed to discern which tools are needed and then acquiring and using those to the best extent possible. Thus, to restate, I am surprised by the benefits of being still and paying attention, and paying attention with discerning intention, mine being to limit suffering.
Thanks to all for sharing, for your interest. Both are sustaining. With respect, Peter Hewitt