May 14, 2020
The term “best practices” is used in many fields, including health care, to identify activities or strategies that have proven to be most effective in achieving a desired result. For example, in the current pandemic, doctors have recommended specific precautions to prevent contagion from spreading, including vigilant and efficient hygiene, “physical distancing”, and cleanliness of one’s surroundings and environment; all of these, when widely adopted and observed consistently, have helped “bend the curve” of contagion downward.
From my own perspective, the best thing anyone can do in the face of this intensifying pandemic is to fill every hour with thoughts, words, and deeds that are godward! This means focusing life, not on egoic comfort-seeking or self-enriching activities, and certainly not on ritualized practices to reduce fear of one’s own infection and death, but rather on love for God and His Creation. When we follow His principles, transcending egoic concerns, this continual focus constitutes the best constructed “face mask”, better than anything we might anxiously make or buy. In addition, focusing on constructive thoughts and actions that serve life’s central purposes and conscientiously cleaning the Earth by attending to cleansing oneself and the environment in gratefulness for the beautiful world He has given to us – builds the immunity of the whole world to the virus. Love, too, is contagious and spreads until it “transforms all that it touches”.
In this regard, we may remember two examples from the life of Meher Baba’s master Sai Baba of Shirdi, the reigning Perfect Master of the closing age.
Serious outbreaks of disease were not uncommon in rural Maharashtra at that time. On one occasion, when an epidemic of cholera struck Shirdi, all health measures failed, and the people urgently appealed to Sai Baba for help. Without saying a word, he went to a nearby house, picked up a grinding stone, and began milling flour. He instructed his devotees to take the flour – the staff of life, milled by the Master’s own hand – and sprinkle it on the village borders, thus drawing a protective circle, a “ring-pass-not”, around Shirdi. From then onward the epidemic began to subside and patients recovered. Soon the village was completely free from cholera.
On another occasion, when an outbreak of bubonic plague arose in Shirdi, Sai Baba advised the villagers to clean the roads and sweep the tombs and burning and burial ghats. He also asked them to feed the poor. When this was done, the plague quickly subsided.
The simple act of sweeping the streets, removing the trash, taking care of proper disposal of what we have used for our welfare, can be enough to keep the dark impressional matter that forms the substance of viral germs out of the surround. Cleanliness, expression of gratitude for life’s gifts, is a facet of love. In this regard, the familiar saying in the West, that “cleanliness is next to godliness”, is true. The light released by love circulates at every level of life, in our interactions with others, in our surroundings, and in the very quality of the air we breathe.
Centering our heart’s love for God and His Creation, striving to live His universal principles, and remembering Him with every breath, are “best practices”, in these times and always. In the awakened life, viruses composed of lower impressional matter cannot find compatible matter even in the cells themselves of those who lead lives of purity.
It is a privilege to be asked by our fellow man to join in an earnest fight to arrest the pandemic by frequent handwashing, wearing masks, sheltering at home, etc. When we are awake to eternal Truth, we do this without a worry or a furrowed brow.
In His Eternal Love and Grace,
Murshida Carol Weyland Conner