Even if we can’t flatten the pandemic curve, we can flatten the panic curve
When the world is caught in a pandemic, the government may impose social distancing or even lockdown. We can and should do our part in preventing the spread of the infection, but we alone can’t flatten the pandemic curve, for we can’t control others’ behavior. If that makes us feel we are too tiny to make any difference, we can remind ourselves that we all can do something important: flatten the panic curve.
When things start going wrong, our mind starts worrying, fretting, and painting scary scenarios of the many more things that may go wrong. The resulting panic can send us into a flight or freeze mode wherein we impulsively do things that spread the infection or don’t do the things that prevent its spread. In fact, amid crises, panic often causes as many, if not more, problems than the crisis itself. That’s why flattening the panic curve is almost as important as flattening the pandemic curve. And thankfully each of us has the power to prevent panic.
Gita wisdom explains that panic arises when we over-identify with worldly things and then become fearful when those things are threatened. Panic, which is an extreme form of fear, typically infects a mind that is dominated by the mode of ignorance (Bhagavad-gita 18.35).
The Gita helps us counter ignorance by reminding us of our indestructibility as souls and of our eternal connection with the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna. When we use this knowledge to become spiritually connected, we experience an inner stability that empowers us to resist panic. And if we can ourselves stay calm, then, by our words and actions, we can also help others to calm down and thus contribute significantly to the solution.
Think it over:
- How does panic worsen crises?
- What causes panic?
- How can Gita wisdom help us overcome panic?
18.35: And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Pṛthā, is in the mode of darkness.
To know more about this verse, please click on the image
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