I read somewhere recently that Dr. Phil got in a little bit of trouble for some remarks he made about Covid-19. He said something to the effect that if we didn't return to work, if we didn't "get back to normal," more people would die from the stress of not working than from the virus. We all know that Phil has never been short on opinions, but whether he's right or not is not what concerns me here.
What his comment reveals is not only a reflection of his lack of skill-set, a lack of faith in his ability to help people release, transform, and resolve the stress around not working, but in his culturally-biased assumption that not working is the problem - versus recognizing our emotional reactions to not working as the problem. His comment reflects and also reinforces a disempowered stance that puts the locus of control on Covid-19, our political leaders, the economy, and our outer-directed efforts to fix all this up just right so that then we can feel better; instead of affirming our own innate power to transform our negative feelings, and be at relative inner peace, regardless of our outer circumstances.
Again, I'm assuming that this is merely an indication that he doesn't know how. This wouldn't be a problem except that because of his popularity, we can only assume that his position and attitude is a reflection of mass culture, and that's what worries me.
When we can't control our outer lives, if we do not have jobs or achievements, is it necessary that the stress of that kills us? Yes, being out of work with no income, and being responsible for others, would certainly bring up strong feelings of survival-type fear. It's perfectly understandable. But where is the faith in the human organism's capacity to transform fear? Where is the faith in an abundant universe that offers unlimited potential and possibilities that we might have access to once our fear is transformed?
Please understand that I'm in no way trying to discount these kinds of fears. I have them too. But within every fear and every situation that triggers that fear, is the potential for healing, release, and to know ourselves more deeply - inner work which we might not be motivated to do if we weren't scared silly.
We are not at the mercy of this pandemic. Instead, it presents us with an opportunity to face the illusion that we were ever in control in the first place. It invites us to find something deeper in ourselves than our outer-directed, ego-directed plans and strategies, something deeper than our self-identification with worldly-attained security, achievement, and success.
I hope Phil is wrong. I hope the stress of not working won't kill us. I hope instead that this crisis will be used to help us be more than we've been before and that instead of back to normal, we emerge from this as better than normal - with a greater sense of who we are, beneath and beyond our worldly, egoic striving.
Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said, I have overcome the world. Perhaps he came to know the limitations and futility of striving, strategizing, and trying to control our outer circumstances. Perhaps he was trying to tell us that as long as our focus is on anything out there, we will have "tribulation." Maybe he was trying to show us another way and was challenging us to dig deeply enough to find the innate, indwelling peace, stability, and freedom within, that which transcends the outer illusion.
In any case, I don't think he would let us off the hook like Phil did. He wouldn't agree that the world could beat us and wouldn't agree that the world could fix us. But would have invited us instead to rediscover the truth of who we are, beneath and beyond the world of form, all the while celebrating our remembrance of this truth, and the worldly conditions that inspired it.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John16:33.
Thank you Jesus, for showing the way.