Panicea

What do yawning, laughter, enthusiasm, and kindness share in common? They all can be referred to as infectious.  Neuroscientists have measured through brain scans the contagious impact of viewing others acting with kindness.  While the neural basis for contagious yawning is still not understood, the phenomena are not limited to humans, as it has been observed in other primates and in dogs.  Dogs and monkeys may not purchase tickets to a comedy club but they enjoy a good laugh and as in humans, the dog who laughs last, laughs best.

The COVID-19 is no laughing matter. When the medical community changes the label of a virus from epidemic to pandemic its meaning is that the virus is spreading worldwide. The connotation of the prefix “pan” also connects it to Pan, “the god of the woods”  who was, “the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots.”  It is from Pan that we get the word panic.

As the death toll rises and the virus spreads there will be a significant disruption of normal activities, the extent of which is still unknown.  Ships have already been quarantined, school systems closed and bans placed on air travelers. There will be more guidelines on how to take precautions from being infected. At a minimum people need to become aware of who and what they touch, most importantly being acutely aware of how reflexive it is to touch our own faces. It takes disciplined awareness to refrain from touching one’s own face unless the hands have been thoroughly washed.

Those who want to deepen their spiritual awareness can expand their concern for others who have already suffered from this virus. It is also a time to reflect on the power of infectious kindness. There is an ancient saying about the effects of a butterfly fluttering its wings—the way it was always phrased in my childhood referred to that butterfly being in China. One person went to a food market in China and ate meat from an animal carrying the coronavirus and the effect is now being transmitted worldwide.

Consider the impact of a person, you, fluttering your hands, doing a favor, speaking or acting with kindness.  You will never know who will be infected by your kindness, but kindness, like laughter, has a way to spread virally. Smile and the world will spread your smile.

 

~David Sanders

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Counting up: Tiferet

by Melanie Gruenwald Week3: Tiferet.   This week, we are immersed in the third week of the counting of the Omer, experiencing the harmony and balance of Tiferet.   We embody Tiferet as the holding

Hersh Goldberg-Polin's parents- day 202

(Two Hundred and) Second Day

by Dr. David Sanders Today is the 2nd day in the upward count of 50 days from Passover to Shavuot (the holiday of weeks). It is a yearly meditative ritual count with a primary focus

Melanie G TikTok Vlog

Melanie’s Blog: Podcasts, Books and TikTok

by Melanie GruenwaldThe spring weather in Denver has inspired me to ​walk to work as much as possible. It gives me time to get some steps in and listen to interesting podcasts.This week, I was inspired

Humble Warriors

Humble Warriors

by Dr. David Sanders To keep months aligned with the earth’s rotation around the sun, an extra day was added in the Gregorian calendar every four years to February, the month with the least number

connecting at woolworth storefront greensboro ga

Connecting at Woolworth’s

by Melanie Gruenwald   On Monday, I stepped into an Uber in North Carolina, with a lovely driver who was warm and welcoming. I am on my first business trip since 2015—with great anticipation and