Masks are a very interesting phenomenon in this pandemic. Common health guidelines consistent worldwide include keeping our distance from each other, maintaining personal hygiene and wearing masks, and masks in particular serve mostly in order to stop our spreading the virus to others.
Why are masks so interesting?
It is because many people wear masks as a protective measure to not catch the virus from others, but masks work mostly in the opposite direction: they prevent the virus’ spread from the person wearing the mask to others.
If we view the coronavirus pandemic as nature sending us a lesson in human relations, then the long-term mask wearing conditions worldwide can be seen as a lesson for humanity in mutual responsibility and consideration. It is similar to how we raise children by telling them to behave fairly and kindly because it is ultimately good for them to do so, but in a broader context, they learn how to relate positively to each other.
Humanity has yet to become aware of how nature is operating behind the scenes: that it is raising us to become increasingly connected, and that it ultimately wants us to realize our connection harmoniously. For the time being, we feel this tightening connection as intensifying pressure and stress, and we suffer a lot from it. If we, however, enable a fundamental shift in our attitude to our increasing connection—from intending to benefit ourselves alone to intending to benefit others—then we will literally experience a new world. We will feel how our tightening connection is an opportunity for us to undergo this fateful egoistic-to-altruistic attitude shift, and by doing so, we will feel ourselves exit our narrow self-serving individual corners, and enter into a great new harmonious world of peace, love, unity and perfect connection among us all.
Mask wearing can also illustrate a filtered-down example in our current lives of four stages of attitude shift that the wisdom of Kabbalah describes; stages we traverse in order to discover our perfect connection to each other.
- Receiving in order to receive: I wear a mask solely with the thought of protecting my own health. This is the most egoistic of the four stages.
- Bestowing in order to receive: I wear a mask with the understanding that I protect others from myself—for instance, if I am an asymptomatic carrier—but by doing so, I also hold the intention that I will ultimately protect myself by doing so. In other words, I care about others because I care about myself. This is still egoistic, but it has an element of altruism laced within.
- Bestowing in order to bestow: I wear a mask purely with the thought that I do not want to infect others with the virus. In other words, “bestowing in order to bestow” is an intention to not want to do any kind of harm to others.
- Receiving in order to bestow: In addition to wearing a mask in order to not harm others, I think about what I can do in order to bring goodness and benefit to others.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, these four stages describe much higher states of spiritual attainment than the filtered-down examples presented here. However, they offer a small taste of a path toward positive connection that lies ahead of us. We can thus relate to mask wearing as an exercise in our positive attitudes to each other, and by doing so, improve our connections and the world we live in.
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