Coughing on other people
In my years traveling with the band, I’ve seen a lot of masks, well before COVID-19 was ever a thing, particularly in Asian countries. I learned quickly that the person wasn’t wearing a mask because they were afraid of getting sick, they were wearing it because they were afraid of getting other people sick. You’ve probably heard a lot of this in the US these days. Culturally there’s a big difference between the US and say, Japan in that the Japanese generally have a higher level of concern for the well-being of others compared to the US where people are most concerned about number 1. I’m not here to judge or belittle anyone for taking care of themselves and their family. In fact, from a Yogic perspective we must take care of ourselves first, before we can truly be of service to others. That being said, the other side of that coin is interconnectedness. Put simply, none of us can be truly happy or free until all of us are happy and free. From that perspective the well-being of others is very much our concern.
What about the protests? Everything I’ve found from reliable sources (i.e. not some random person on facebook) is showing that the protests haven’t lead to much of a spike in positive tests. This in in large part due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the protestors seem to be taking precautions, such as wearing masks, distancing, and of course washing/sanitizing their hands. That’s not the point I really want to make though. What I do want to say is that there is a fundamental difference between the protests, and going to a packed bar/beach whatever the fuck. It’s this:
At a protest, a person is putting themselves in danger to try and be of benefit to others. They’re trying to help others, this is bravery. This is selflessness. At a party or whatever, a person is putting other people in danger, pretty much just because it’s fun to party. Not only is this selfish, it’s based in fear.
The reason so many people don’t want to wear masks, is because it’s a reminder that there is a virus out there killing people. The mask symbolizes a disruption of our comfort zone, and a need to reevaluate our way of thinking. You might think people are wearing masks because they’re afraid of a virus, that’s not it at all. People are wearing the damned thing because they care about others.
When I die, I don’t want to have regrets about living fearfully and selfishly. I want to go peacefully knowing that I did my best to love others as my brothers and sisters. Take a deep enough look inside, and I’m sure you’ll find the same desire for yourself.