Coronavirus Dangers Are All Around Us but It Is the Best Moment of Our Lives
April 13, 2020
Nancy and I were sitting out on our screened-in porch a week ago, after watching more bad news about rising death tolls, infections and the economic toll of Covid-19.
Nancy had been in tears several times over the past week or two, worried that she was going to bring the virus home from work and kill me. I am in a high-risk category -- 67 years old, one lung, a heart issue (a-fib) and asthma that has developed since I lost the lung. If I caught the Coronavirus, I would probably be toast within a few days.
I have been watching a lot of network news and reading the Washington Post and New York Times because, as a former news guy, I want to keep up with it all.
So it was a mild spring evening and we were sitting on our porch with a glass of wine.
I turned to Nancy, looked her in the eyes and said, "This is the best moment of my life."
And I felt it.
You see, the question we should ask ourselves is not "What is the meaning of life?"
The question should be, "How can I make each moment of my life meaningful?"
My personal philosophy, based on philosophical Taoism and Zen Buddhism, is that in every moment, no matter how horrible, there is always something to be treasured, to be enjoyed, and to give us pleasure if we will only find it and be open to it.
During the past 11 years, since my strong, muscular body decided that a lifetime of clean living wasn't enough to stop it from self-destructing, helped along the way by medical malpractice, pursuing my passion has been a challenge.
I have continued to improve in the internal arts. My movement is better and I understand more deeply than I did in 2009.
Physically, I have to stop and gasp for air quite often when I do athletic forms or movement or strenuous push hands or sparring for a couple of minutes.
But there are nights when I get ready for bed, look in the mirror and laugh. No, not for the reason you're thinking.
I laugh because despite the challenges, I'm still pushing forward.
Some days, my heart will go from 60 beats per minute to 155 beats per minute within a couple of seconds. A few seconds later, it will drop from 155 to 70 BPM, then back up to 140, then down to 65, then up to 150 -- and this will go on sometimes for hours.
But I love my life. I absolutely love it. I wouldn't trade it with anyone.
And so, even though my life is in serious danger with this invisible enemy floating around infecting us, I have felt very little stress. I try to live my philosophy every day.
It is not a philosophy that depends on another being or person to save me or to bring me happiness. I guess you could say it's a philosophy of personal responsibility. The farther you get outside of yourself, the farther you are from the answer you seek.
Don't misunderstand me. I'm not ready to go. I am sheltering in place and I am washing my hands and avoiding touching my face. I'm centered, not stupid.
Remaining centered is not just something I talk about when I discuss philosophy.
It is a crucial part of my mindset and my outlook on life. I have been through some serious stuff in my life.
I give fear and stress no place to enter.
What is your personal philosophy? Can it help you ride through this storm without leaving you capsized in the waves?
Do you know how to live?
I love this part of the Tao Te Ching:
He who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers can find no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so? Because he has no place for death to enter.
This is not just philosophy. It is not just something to read in a book. It is a tutorial on how to truly live, even when danger, physically and economically, is all around you.
Don't you love this life?
-- by Ken Gullette