Chan Practice in a Pandemic

In mid-March 2020 after Covid-19 has been declared a pandemic and panic began to spread in the U.S., I invited practitioners to share their reflections on practicing in a pandemic.  No one’s life has been untouched by the outbreak.  In the midst of rapidly rising infection cases and news of potential shortages and possibility of overwhelmed hospitals, we are presented with an excellent opportunity to practice.  Practice remembering to use the method to calm the mind so that we can remember to practice hand hygiene and maintain social distance.  Practice cultivating total clear awareness so that we do not fall into hopelessness by focusing only on the negative news.  Practice cultivating compassion and allowing love to touch our heart amidst the suffering in the world. (Rebecca Li, 3/19/2020)

After spending hours on the computer, reading email updates from work that invoked new contingency plans, catching up on rapidly changing government actions that impacted all aspects of life, learning about social distancing, checking in with family and friends, coming up with plans to be of service, I looked up and saw these beautiful white clouds floating in the blue sky, unperturbed.  Gratitude and love filled my heart.  What a precious opportunity to practice!  (by Rebecca Li)

Rebecca Li#1
Photo by Rebecca Li

What Panic?  (by Lee Harrison)

It’s not that I don’t understand or respect the mortal danger.

It’s not that the world does not seem strange, but what about it was not already strange?

It is not that fear doesn’t stretch like a shadow in the headlights on the path before me.
What illness will come? To my body first or to the factors of my civilization? To the engineering of my mind? To my family?
But between the questions, I hear the soft chafing of tall grass still blowing in calm wind. Messages from the distance, the voices of friends.
The wingspan curve of a bird that turns above the valley, thin shadows in the forest, warm light on a leaf.
The unburdened joy of children; same with their fear and their compassion, so honest. A hug from my daughters.
Then I can’t help but wonder– what panic?
Lee Harrison#1
Photo by Lee Harrison
Less Harrison#2
Photo by Lee Harrison
Intricacies. Branching.
Nothing to do.
I look up.
Mist falls on my face.
(by Allison Orsi)
Allison Orsi
Photo by Allison Orsi

Allow joy into our hearts as spring starts

To remind us that life continues

Amidst distressing news day after day

That this horror will not stay

(by Rebecca Li)

Rebecca Li#2--Allow Joy into our Heart
Photo by Rebecca Li