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Practising humanity in times of a pandemic

SARS-CoV-2

In dire times, it is not only human beings that are being tested, but the humanity in each of us. In the midst of generalised lockdown in place, here are a few reflections on the ethical significance of an unprecedented situation…

“My last point is practise humanity. We don’t talk about practising humanity, but now if ever there is a time to practise humanity, the time is now. The time is now to show some kindness, to show some compassion to people, show some gentility—even as a New Yorker.” Who spoke these words? The Governor of the State of New York, in a press briefing on March 21, 2020 to New Yorkers about the management of the coronavirus pandemic. That ethics should invite itself in such a way in political discourse is worth reflecting on. Other public voices out there struck the same chord: physicians, journalists, writers, etc.

I live in France, so when I realised that the ongoing situation was spontaneously interpreted by many in terms of what one should do as a human being, I had already been in lockdown for a week and it struck me as an echo of Bahram Elahi’s words in his latest book, Fondamentaux du perfectionnement spirituel : le guide pratique (Fundamentals of the Process of Spiritual Perfection: Practical Guide, forthcoming). There, Dr. Elahi argues that realising our humanity is one of the three essential duties that we need to accomplish while living on Earth, and it can only be achieved through the in vivo practice of ethics, i.e. “practising humanity” in the midst of society and in interaction with others:

We must strive—during the course of our daily lives and in our interaction with others—to put ourselves in their place, such that we do unto others the good that we would want and do for ourselves, while preserving them (to the extent possible) from the harm that we would not want and would seek to avoid for ourselves.

Bahram Elahi, Fondamentaux du perfectionnement spirituel : Le guide pratique, Paris, Dervy, 2019, Chapter 20 (unpublished translation, all rights reserved).

This Covid-19 pandemic can be viewed as an ethical opportunity: it offers, in fact, an intensive internship in practising humanity.

To steer our practice, the golden rule is to put oneself in the shoes of others. Which others? I started thinking of general categories: those who are sick, the loved ones of those who are severely ill or dead, the exhausted healthcare workers, but also all those who have to go to work despite the risks because their jobs are deemed essential, those who suffer from material hardships, those who suffer from psychological distress, those who undergo a lockdown in cramped or overcrowded homes… Then, I began to focus on specific people and more precise plans of in vivo action:

  • Complying rigorously with the collective recommendations so as to protect others and not just myself: people standing in line, cashiers, passers-by, relatives I live with… Not observing these recommendations amounts to a transgression of the rights of society as a whole.
  • Taking good care of those I live with. During the lockdown, we spend much more time together; as a consequence, there are many more opportunities to help each other, display more signs of affection; there is also a higher risk of irritating each other, of getting angry and giving way to unpleasant behaviour.
  • Checking in on people who live alone, or friends who are in trouble, e.g., that friend of yours who you know is worried because her husband is very sick.
  • Helping neighbours in need, such as elderly people, with their chores and daily routines. The media have reported on many “Christmas tale” stories in that respect.
  • Making donations to relief organisations, or volunteering; doing something for someone who is in trouble.
  • Looking around and asking myself: Who is in hardship? How can I help concretely?

Now, dear reader, has this pandemic brought about any ethically relevant experiences for you? How have you responded to what is happening? What are the dilemmas that you have had to solve? Where has your discernment been tested? What are your opportunities to practice humanity? You are welcome to share your experiences in the comments.

Here are two excerpts from Ostad Elahi’s Words of Truth that may inspire you in your in vivo practice:

There are times when large sums of money spent on charitable deeds have had less value than a compassionate query as to the well-being of one who is in need of such kindness. The word ‘goodness’ encompasses all that is good, and does not refer only to some specific deeds.

Ostad Elahi, Words of Truth, 256, draft of the forthcoming English translation.

 

One should not imagine that the ‘rights of others’ are limited to financial, social, or moral obligations—even responding to a greeting indifferently, making caustic remarks, or breaking people’s hearts are all deemed transgressions of others’ rights. The rights of others exist at all levels: between husbands and wives, children and parents, parents and children; between family members; between neighbors; between residents of the same community; between residents of the same city, etc. To the extent that God has assigned certain rights, we have an obligation to observe the ‘rights of others.’

Ostad Elahi, Words of Truth, 333, draft of the forthcoming English translation.


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38 comments

  1. Lilo Apr 01, 2020 3:57 am 1

    How moving and guiding. Yes.
    I live alone and have no children or elderly relatives to take care of. So discernment is certainly a very important question. Do I respond to that friend’s need to relieve her isolation by meeting at my house? Do I accept all skype conversation proposals from friends who either want to do a good deed toward me or who are in need of company? What and how many distant family members do I enter into contact with?
    I realize it is on a case to case basis and I must listen to my heart and use my sound reason.
    I work from home, a full schedule and feel the need to isolate myself and either read or sleep or watch uplifting movies after work. Sometimes I feel too depleted nervously to connect with others.
    So far I have come to this conclusion. I try to be open hearted and accept calls and Skypes when I can. I try to remember that even if I feel that someone is being altruistic toward me (I feel this with several friends who live with their children and or spouses), that it is also a kindness to allow someone to do you a kindness. I noticed that when I remember my motivation then I am more relaxed and more able to engage in those conversations. As an introvert it can be taxing just thinking of talking with people. But it is easier when I remember why I am doing it.
    Similarly, t’reaching out to others, I have realized that others may also feel burdened by too much phone activity, too many shared funny videos (going around at my job), and that it is a kindness also in some circumstances to leave people alone.
    One of my friends who is also an introvert, has almost stopped all communication with me. I catch myself sometimes having negative thoughts about her. But practicing my humanity, doesn’t it also include accepting and loving people the way they are with their particular needs? One friend (or elderly neighbour) may need to to talk or complain to feel better, but another may need to self-isolate to manage their stress or anxiety.
    So instead of asking my friend how she is or asking her if she is angry at me…I now and then send her a good night sweet dreams message with some hearts.

    1. Yan Apr 01, 2020 5:40 pm 1.1

      Lilo you had a great point when you said: “that it is also a kindness to allow someone to do you a kindness”. I reflected on your statement and I think it’s very true. This reminds me of the Saying 111 of the Words of Truth, and I think what you did, is an in vivo application of such a saying.

      ….”Hearing of my arrival, one of the residents of the village who held me in high esteem had prepared an elaborate meal for lunch. When I entered his home with my companions, I noticed that he was merely a peasant who had spent well beyond his means for my sake; he would be heartbroken if I were to refrain from eating.”….”Indeed, it is far worse to break a person’s heart than it is to break one’s fast.” Words of Truth, Saying 111

      1. Lilo Apr 01, 2020 10:59 pm 1.1.1

        Oh wow. Thank you for that.
        The imperious self also attacks as I just read in the French edition of the Practical Guide by making us think that what we do is never enough. Thank you for pointing out that there was in vivo practice at work and the relation to Saying 111.

    2. H.A Apr 01, 2020 7:33 pm 1.2

      Lilo, your comments about being an introvert fully resonate with me during these times. I have limited patience during the day for group chats, videos and all the demands of tech communication. I too struggle with maintaining what feels comfortable for me and balancing that with the needs of others.

  2. H.A Apr 01, 2020 8:52 am 2

    What a timely and beautifully put article. It is during times of hardship that I try to remind myself of Ostad Elahi’s teachings, particularly a saying where he refers to hardship being a blessing from God, that these challenges can act as shortcuts for us on the path of perfection.

    Indeed, this is a tremendously difficult time for humanity, but similar to the many times in human history hard times have befallen us. As the article mentions, this provides a golden opportunity to practice empathy, altruism and compassion.

    Expanding on the concepts of respecting the rights of others, this pandemic has caused me to think a great deal about the rights of the planet, ecosystems and all living beings. It is due to this pandemic that there have been many positive side effects on the world’s climate … almost as if planet earth itself can take a full, clean breath for the first time, in a long time. Perhaps it is yet another opportunity for human beings to consider the rights not only of our fellow humans but also the rights of all living beings and the environment, that we also rely on.

    Thank you for this positive and thought provoking perspective. I need to do better and seek more opportunities to help loved ones and neighbours.

  3. iliashid yazdani Apr 01, 2020 9:17 am 3

    Very useful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It is really hopeful.

  4. M anijeh khalili Apr 01, 2020 1:51 pm 4

    Thank you for sharing, very useful at this time.

  5. MJ Apr 01, 2020 3:43 pm 5

    Such a timely post and reminder to us all.
    Like others, I am juggling a few dilemmas. Where we live childcare centers are still open. However due to limited attendance they are making many teachers redundant. Sending my children in means more income for the childcare center and they can retain staff at this challenging times. But I fear risk of infection.
    Or panic buying at shops when I think should I stock up for my family or pick just one and consider other shoppers who may completely run out.
    Reading the post, I can think of many extended family and friends who would find these days particularly challenging with isolation and stress. it didn’t even occur to me to reach out to them. My excuse is always being busy with two young children and full time work. But reading the highlighted excerpts from Words of Truth, helps put things into perspective. Perhaps my lifestyle and priorities need a bit of shake up to avoid missing out on working on my essential duty of practicing humanity.

  6. yocto Apr 01, 2020 4:46 pm 6

    This is my story and I gave myself a score of 12 out of 20: We had shelter-in-place order, by the City and I was at home occupying myself with some housework, doing some repairs and was hammering away when I heard someone is knocking. She was the elderly two doors away; she heard the hammering. She said in a righteous manner: tell them to come and fix my window! I asked: tell who? She said the workers! I said there are no workers it’s just me! And I looked at her frail but feisty face and noticed her eyelids were red all around signaling symptoms of some kind of cold or flu!!!! and I heard a voice in my head loud and clear “corona… corona… don’t get close to her… shut the door”. I asked her what do you need? Trying hard to be nice but not persuasive. She replied: ohhh it’s just you… and murmured something like: the wind is blowing through my window all night and I am cold and the landlord said he will send someone next week, and as she was walking away she continued: I am cold and I can’t wait until next week, I can’t sleep at night. “the voice: great, she is leaving… let her go… she is a delusional old lady… and historically has proven to lie a lot” I asked which window is that? She walked back toward me “the voice: please stop at six feet… please…” and said I am embarrassed to show you from inside my apartment because it’s not clean… pointed me to go outside of her window that was reachable through the stairs. I breathed a sigh of relief. I definitely didn’t want to go into her apartment that was most likely, potentially, a cesspool of corona or flu or cold viruses and germs! I had no Lysol, I had gloves, but no masks! It was the moment of truth. I made the decision. I wore gloves and took my masking tape and went outside. She went inside and from inside started yelling this window this window I am here…! I followed the voice and found the window and saw her inside and I got to work, taping all around the window! I made sure I taped it secure and I was seeing her nodding her head as I was doing it and pointing to the areas I was missing! I asked loudly: Is this good? Are you okay now? And she nodded. As I was walking back in, I saw her again in the hallway coming toward me asking: what kind of tape is it? I noticed she was looking at the tape wanting it. “the voice: great! now she wants my tape…that is my only masking tape, but I can order online. GIVE it to her!” I reluctantly offered her the tape. She immediately took it and happily went back into her apartment and I continued hammering away.

    1. mahnaz Apr 01, 2020 9:19 pm 6.1

      Thank you dear friend for sharing. It is a very special time and we have to be positive, help others, and do good deeds.
      And try to see the positive side of it. Thank you so much.

      1. Lilo Apr 01, 2020 11:06 pm 6.1.1

        I’m sorry to be a bit “light” on this but I find this story hilarious. Really funny. I love it.

    2. Soheil Apr 03, 2020 4:11 am 6.2

      I give you the remaining 8 points for bringing me smiles this evening with your lighthearted story. Hammer away my friend and thank you…

    3. Elsa Apr 05, 2020 4:46 am 6.3

      What an amazing story and self evaluation!

      I loved how you detected the different voices arising from two different compartments of your unconscious psyche and immediately acting upon it always from your inner guide!

      Bravo. what an inspiration and self knowledge!

  7. Venus jahani Apr 01, 2020 6:29 pm 7

    Sometimes it would be more practical to set up at least one good dead every day and actually accomplish it than wondering how to help out and no actions!

    1. H.A Apr 01, 2020 7:36 pm 7.1

      Great point!

  8. Yan Apr 01, 2020 7:45 pm 8

    This pandemic made me reflect on a few points:

    – Despite, all technological advances and scientific discoveries, how fragile we are! If we are this breakable, what do we have to be proud of? We should remind ourself of how insignificant we are before Him. Thinking of this insignificance, which brings humility, could also get us also closer to Him.
    – We are all equal: whether we are an ordinary worker or a famous actor or a wife of a high-ranked politician, we are all as fragile as each other. This also could cultivate humility in us.
    – If we live in a first-world country, it’s a good time to get a little taste of how people have been suffering for ages in third-world countries, struggling just for survival. Although this is just a little “taster” or “sampler” and wouldn’t be comparable to their pain.
    – How forgetful and sometimes ungrateful we have been about our blessings. Today, I understand, many things that I always took for granted, or even worse complained about, was a blessing. The other day, a friend sent me a funny but though provoking post: “when this is over, please invite me everywhere. I promise I’ll go this time!”

    1. FT Apr 02, 2020 6:54 am 8.1

      I so resonate with your comment. I think exactly the same. I have been taking everything for granted for such a long time and used to complain about everything. I had forgotten all the countless blessings we have had and how we ignored them. This crisis is a wake up call for all humanity and it is certainly a blessing from God covered in suffering.

      I so wish God helps us all use this golden ethical opportunity to grow and improve spiritually toward our perfection.

  9. Yan Apr 01, 2020 8:57 pm 9

    In the past few weeks, same as others, I have been receiving phone calls, groups video-calls, etc from friends and acquaintances. Although, I’m very chatty in person, I dislike phone or video calls, and get annoyed easily over repetitive conversations on the same topic. By nature, I enjoy spending my time reading, reflecting, listening to music or watching movies.

    Having said that, I observed my thought process, every time I got a phone call or video call, in the following manner:

    Stage One:
    Extreme annoyance and agitation mixed with slight anger. This is where, my imperious self uses the lever of “force and compulsion through a rebellion or surge of illicit desire” coupled with the lever of “deception”. I call it #IS1 & #IS2, respectively, in my diaries (imperious self type-1: attack through force and rebellion, imperious-self type-2: attack through deception).

    Imperious self whisper: “Another call! Again? Don’t you guys have anything else to do? Spend your time reading or do something else! Leave me alone”. These thoughts, I found, are rooted in: #pride #arrogance #lackofcompassion #selfishness

    Stage Two:
    At this point, my challenge is “Whether I should answer the call or not?”

    This is where my imperious self uses the lever of “deception”. I call it #IS2. It whispers: “They know that you are home and have no excuse, if you don’t answer the phone they will know that you did it on purpose, and they might dislike you, or worse, you risk losing them in the long-run by behaving like this”.
    This is my imperious self, just worrying for its material benefit, wanting me to do the right thing but with a wrong intention. However, there are times, that I hear this sound inside me: “Answer the call, this is a blessing that you have these people around you, you should be thankful to Him for bestowing them upon you. If you want to be thankful, then you should act as if they are blessing, meaning answering their calls and caring about their needs. Furthermore, while enjoying the perk of friendship, such as being invited here or there for many years, you also have some responsibility and obligation towards your friends. Friendship is a two-way street, meaning you should be there when they need you. Thank God that they didn’t ask you, selfish ego, to make a big sacrifice for them! It is just a simple phone call. Your time is not as precious as you think!”. This sounds like my inner guide, I call it #IG. Whenever, I listened to this sound, I felt much better, spiritually and materially, sometime I even enjoyed the phone call, which changed my mode for the better, as opposed to what I initially predicted.

    Reading this article made me conscious and aware of this golden “internship” period to leverage making myself a better human being.

    1. Bob Apr 01, 2020 11:13 pm 9.1

      I love this #IS1 and #IS2 for attack through force and rebellion and for attack through deception. I hadn’t been serious enough so far to actually make them clear concepts in my mind but now I kind of see them like Thing One and Thing Two in the Cat in The Hat. Hahahaha! Thank you so much for that and for showing them in a light that belittles them and shows how seriously unacceptable they are.

      1. Yan Apr 03, 2020 12:06 am 9.1.1

        Bob, thank you for your encouraging words.

        I recently started to identify and to categorize imperious self tricks, using the three main given categories (rebellion, deception, and recurring temptation), when I write my diary at the end of the day. For simplicity, I use the following hashtags: #IS1, #IS2, and #IS3. I also identify the underlying character weakness such as #pride, #arrogance, #selfishness, #impatience, etc.
        Classifying them, at the end of the day, helped me to better understand and to prepare myself to fight with it for the next day. As a result, there have been times that I could learn from last night’s diary, and identified my #IS on the spot which enabled me to fight with it more efficiently!

        Just like a boxer, if we know how, and from where our opponent is going to fight us on the ring tomorrow, we are more likely to win, or at least, to more efficiently fight it!

    2. A. Apr 02, 2020 7:34 am 9.2

      Thank you for this great comment.

      I have come across the same issue. Some of my colleagues spend a lot of time “Whatsapping” from morning till night time and my initial reactions were “gosh, don’t they have anything else to do? But after some thinking, I realized that some of them are not married and have no kids, so it is a way to feel less isolated.

    3. A. Apr 02, 2020 7:39 am 9.3

      … Let me add to that, that I also feel the constant pressure of the egoistic side of my imperious self either through “type-1: attack through force and rebellion + imperious self type-2: attack through deception”

      I my case, type 2 would follow this kind of reasoning “instead of wasting my time interacting with others and engaging in trite conversations, let’s focus on other more useful endeavors”

      1. Yan Apr 02, 2020 11:30 pm 9.3.1

        You brought up a great point. The imperious self’s deception trick, is one of its worst tricks because it makes us unable to even identify it as imperious self.

        For a long time, I had been looking down at people who sent me useless social media content, videos, jokes, and worst of all unverified fake news. I inherently thought they were so shallow and non-intellectual. Although I could be objectively right, my imperious self, through deception, by capitalizing on #pride and #arrogance, made me think I was better than them, smarter, wiser, etc, forgetting that, His evaluation is different than mine. Those, whom I looked down upon because they did not seem to be intellectual, may be better human beings overall, hence, closer to Him. His judgement and evaluation is different than ours.

        The moral lesson for me was to remind myself that: people have different mindsets, brain structures, values, souls, experience; the combination of which make them act, think, and choose differently. In fact, it is shallowness on my part when I don’t consider this fact when judging them! If I were in their shoes, my choices wouldn’t be very different than theirs! So I decided, as much as I can, to look at them with compassion, love and humility, instead of arrogance and pride.

  10. Mattie J Apr 01, 2020 10:20 pm 10

    Thank you for this timely and inspirational post. A reminder that practicing humanity starts at home with family and in the nieghborhood.

  11. A. Apr 02, 2020 7:25 am 11

    Thank you for this great article
    My experience is quite simple: since the first day of isolation, I started doing a ton of things I really enjoy and were also overdue and useful. For instance, working on a digital marketing project, a start-up creation etc… (whilst working a few hours a day because my main work – the one that pays for the bills – had significantly decreased).

    Of course, I have engaged in these activities whilst trying to help my wife who does much more than I do (she cooks, works as a lawyer from home, irons, does our laundry, and – most difficult task of all – helps our youngest son aged 10 to do his homework).
    I have also started to cook, I regularly buy groceries for the whole family, to relieve my wife of some pressure. I also call my mother and mother in law.

    However, one evening, whilst analyzing my OstadElahi-inpractice (daily work), I got a saying (from Ostad’s Words of Truth) alerting me that divine mercy would not protect me from the rights of others that I trample. After some thinking, I realized that I did not do enough for my youngest son (aged 10). I thus took the decision of playing soccer with him on a daily basis in the apartment building’s courtyard (here where I live – in Paris – almost everyone has left for the countryside, and I have very few neighbors).
    Bottom line, be very careful with the rights of those very close to you.

  12. Amirhossein m Apr 02, 2020 8:49 am 12

    Such a great reminder for these days. Reminding me of the fact that I must always work on my thoughts and behavior, as my continued spiritual duty on earth, parallel to routines of daily life. A great reminder that all challenges and scenarios of life are steps to understanding, to not see people as the direct cause of events, but to see events as units for evaluation by applying true ethical principles. The check points are always available, I must find them, even in quarantine situation.

  13. M Apr 02, 2020 6:43 pm 13

    Yocto I like how you noticed the voice and how you overcame the voice or should we call it the noise!

  14. mx Apr 03, 2020 6:44 pm 14

    We are all experiencing a wide range of emotions during this global pandemic. It was surreal at first, I was in disbelief. The daily reports of the numbers of infections and deaths worldwide continue to rise alarmingly. I began praying multiple times daily. Praying for those infected by the virus alone in a hospital with no loved ones consoling them. I prayed they would not suffer much. I prayed for all the courageous and selfless doctors and nurses and medical staff all over the world who sacrificed their lives daily to help others. I felt humbled wishing I could somehow be of help within the confines of self- quarantine. While praying I was over swept with a wave of humility asking somehow to be able to help. The very next morning I received an email from a hospital in our county asking for masks, gloves… to be dropped off to them. We placed an order online for masks to be donated, this was the least that could be done. That email in my inbox was direct response to my heartfelt prayer and I was grateful for that. I still felt the need to do more. The words of Malek Jan kept echoing in my mind our time on earth is limited.

    I had always believed my faith was strong in the past yet now I began highly doubting that when panic starting kicking in. I felt embarrassed of myself and reprimanded myself for my weakness. One night I had a full-blown panic attack, experiencing a feeling of suffocation for a couple of minutes. My thoughts were with of all those infected with covid-19, under a ventilator machine, alone in a hospital desperately fighting for each breath. A fear like one I had never experienced before conquered me. I sincerely cried out to God asking for his help. During my prayer (attention dialogue) I came to the realization that I am so insignificant and so helpless, that I am nothing, that we all are nothing without God…

    I have kept in touch with family and loved ones. I was able to not only wholeheartedly forgive those who had done me wrong but managed to pray for their safety too. I felt his presence through focusing on helping and thinking of others. My mind was no longer focused on my family’s safety but the ones out there, on the frontlines continuously sacrificing their own lives. The hospital sent yet another email to saying that they were now accepting online donations that any small amount would help. Another opportunity thrown our way.

    Helplessness has lead to the strengthening of humility within me. Compassion for people all over the world has allowed me to be forgiving. Strength blossomed from the depths of my helpless fear. By concentrating on helping others, a selflessness has awakened within us all. Feelings of love and compassion have shed a light allowing me to feel the all-encompassing compassionate presence who is there for humanity.

    1. Lilo Apr 04, 2020 5:41 am 14.1

      Deep thanks!

  15. Yan Apr 03, 2020 9:44 pm 15

    One of my ethical dilemmas in the first few weeks of pandemic (when we would go out more frequently, and when people would take it less seriously) was how to make those whom negligently get close to me understand that they should keep their safe distance (i.e. when someone knocked our door to deliver something and I needed to pay him, or when the cashier wasn’t hesitant to to get close to me at the grocery store, not keeping the suggested safe distance). In the first few days, I found myself reluctant to say it out loud directly, hoping them to read my mind or understand on their own! I acted a bit shy, however, later I realized that this shyness rooted in pride, and contrary to what I perceived when I was analyzing it through the lens of my ego, it was not a result of me being nice!! If this is a right thing to do, based on what authorities suggested, I should say it directly, with no hesitation, but in the most polite manner.

  16. Homayoun Apr 04, 2020 4:34 am 16

    Thanks to everyone for sharing a great list of in vivo ways to apply ethics and humanity; the one that I would like to share from my own experience is prayer in the way Ostad Elahi recommended it; as it is an in vivo action that we can all practice every day, every hour, and every minute.

  17. URMUM Apr 09, 2020 4:49 am 17

    It is certainly a time of reflection and solace in the One. A time for ethical considerations and humane possibilities. I wonder what metaphysical reality has caused this pandemic. Truly. With regards to the rights of others – it is like an ethical landmine out there. Today, I had such an intense experience with my imperious self, I find it has definitely become more emboldened. Perhaps fear is enriching it. “…to put ourselves in their place, such that we do unto others the good that we would want and do for ourselves, while preserving them (to the extent possible) from the harm that we would not want and would seek to avoid for ourselves..”, this is very poignant for me. I wouldn’t ever want to be caught betraying it.

  18. iliashid yazdani Apr 10, 2020 5:00 pm 18

    Hi, thanks again. Now I have been trying to put myself in the place of others for close to a week. But in Iran, no one is in his/her place. Here we cannot do this if we do not think that everything is really under the God’s control and will! For example, there are people who have no money for even a day, these people make up more than 70% of the Iranian society, yet no one wants to accept the responsibility these days and hold people in their house. The only correct thinking for me is to try to understand how others can live in such an uncontrollable situation.

    1. coherence Apr 15, 2020 3:25 pm 18.1

      Hello Iliashid, I’m so sorry for what is happening in Iran. This looks like an intractable situation. I feel so privileged in my own circumstances, for the small adjustments I have had to make and the small challenges I face. Your comment reminds me of how grateful I should be for my shelter, food and security, and that I should never take this crisis for a good thing, as this would be the pinnacle of egoism, the very opposite of humanity. I can only hope that we find a vaccine or medication soon, and that it’s made available worldwide. My best wishes to you, family and friends.

    2. Linda Apr 20, 2020 7:29 pm 18.2

      I truly appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences here, and I share your feeling of frustration and helplessness. And I am not even close to where you are to be understanding and caring of how in the world others are dealing with this situation. All I can do is to remind me that He wants us, not to feel heavy at heart during trying times, why is, there is a wisdom behind everything that happens. Hang in there. This too shall pass.

  19. Yan Apr 18, 2020 5:59 pm 19

    Hi Iliashid.

    Your challenge in putting yourself in the place of others, in this extremely hard situation, reminded me of an article which I read here sometime ago: (Altruism: an interview with Bahram Elahi, M.D.) https://www.e-ostadelahi.com/eoe-en/altruism-an-interview-with-bahram-elahi-m-d/

    One of the take home advices for me was to start from people whom I’m close to (family, friends, colleague, etc). I believe sometimes, making a phone call or praying for others, depending on our intention, could be counted as an act of altruism. For example, we could call someone who is sad or alone or angry, and compassionately lend ear to her, listening to her stories or complains, helping her to empty himself. This could be a form of putting ourself in others shoes.

    Below I pasted a part of my highlights from this article:

    “Helping others with generosity and benevolence often occurs through very simple acts: lending an attentive ear, paying a sincere compliment, making a friendly gesture or any other sign of support. We can help others in all sorts of ways: with our belongings, through our actions and words, but also using our thought and intention alone. For instance, cultivating the will to do good unto others or having the firm intention of helping them already bears a positive effect on others and ourselves”

    “In the practice of altruism, however, helping those with whom we are close or in daily contact, such as our spouses, children, parents, neighbors, etc., takes precedence.”

    You can read the full article here:
    https://www.e-ostadelahi.com/eoe-en/altruism-an-interview-with-bahram-elahi-m-d/

  20. mahnaz Apr 26, 2020 9:13 pm 20

    I think it’s the best time, to think about what we have been doing in the past as a human, and what else we have to do to make a better world full of love and humanity in the future… for divine satisfaction.

  21. Naghme Apr 27, 2020 9:08 pm 21

    My question is, how am I to respond to such a crisis during the current challenging period? What should I learn through this? How can I change my lens through which I view the world? How am I living my life during this quarantine period? Am I looking for the majority of the hours I have each day to be joy-filled? Am I pursuing great and satisfaction of my ego? Is there any awe, wonder and excitement in my life? Or is there a monotonous, frustrating, pessimistic, or lifeless and perhaps even angry or cynical pattern to my life?! This global crisis is teaching me how weak I am as a human being. How does this lesson of fragility hit me? Perhaps by reminding me to not take life on this earth for granted. This virus doesn’t follow ethnic boundaries or national borders, it is our virus, all members of the global human family. Perhaps this crisis is reminding me what I should concern my life with. Perhaps it’s helping me to distinguish between what’s meaningful and meaningless and vanity. Try to check my priorities during daily situations. Perhaps a lot of desires and needs in my life aren’t essential to my survival. Perhaps the coronavirus is teaching me what really matters and that the main reason for my life on earth in a human body is that it is a phase in my process of “correct education of thought”.

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