We are asked to wash our hands regularly and restrict social contacts. This aims at reducing the risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus.
Further we should trust that there will be drugs or vaccines available at some point in time, hopefully soon.
But we can do more.
Fighting against and trying to avoid contact with the coronavirus are measures in the spirit of the germ theory, of which Frenchman Louis Pasteur was one of the fathers. But this theory is only part of the big picture.
Claude Bernard was one of Pasteur’s adversaries. (Historian B Cohen from Harvard University called Bernard “one of the greatest of all men of science.”)
Claude Bernard originated the term interior milieu and showed how important it is for health and well-being. His most famous quote is:
The terrain is everything; the germ is nothing.
The terrain for the coronavirus is our body.
The coronavirus risk group is said to be people above 70 and people with preexisting medical conditions. This fits well with the Bernard quote, for the bodies of these people are obviously weaker and therefore a more vulnerable terrain than the bodies of younger and healthier individuals, who may suffer only minor symptoms or even remain symptom-free.
It follows that in addition to taking measurements to reduce the spread of the virus, it is a good idea to improve the terrain.
The terrain, ie the physiological condition of our body, is affected by our lifestyle and our mindset. Lifestyle includes nutrition, exercise, fresh air, etc. Mindset includes believe systems, behavioral patterns, thoughts, etc.
The effect of the mindset on the body shows, for example, as the placebo and nocebo effects. Placebo is Latin for “I shall please,” nocebo is Latin for “I shall harm.” The essence is: You create what you believe. In fact, this goes beyond the physiological state of our body:
Whether you think you can our you can’t, you’re right.
However, it is not as easy as this quote suggests. Not our thoughts create, but our mindset, which also has parts that we don’t know and thus can’t control. Such parts also can have an effect, such as is often the case in psychosomatic diseases.
Our mindset is comprised of two parts: a present and a past. Our present mindset is what we think. Our past mindset is our history, which contains everything that we ever experienced. As we live our life, our history evolves as a kind of mental recording of everything we sense, feel, and think. In this process, similar life experiences cluster, thus forming abstract patterns. For example, if I am told repeatedly that I am a loser (in varying formulations and situations), this becomes a pattern. (I describe the details in my book “Consciouness: Its Nature, Purpose, and How to Use It.”)
As a result, our history, and thus our mindset, is comprised of countless patterns. These patterns bring forth most of our behaviors. Therefore, these patterns are aptly also called behavioral programs – or programs for short.
We are aware of some of these programs/patterns; but most of them we are not aware of.
Let’s imagine our mindset being an ocean. Then our thoughts are the waves on the surface. Programs/patterns are the enormous masses of water underneath. (Also most of our planet’s water masses are uncharted territory for humankind …)
The waves result from the water interacting with the atmosphere. Likewise our thoughts result from our programs interacting with the world.
This image also shows why it is difficult to control our thoughts without dealing with our programs at the same time. That’s why it is not that easy to “think positive.” Thoughts and programs are not separate – and the ocean of programs is really deep, for our oldest programs reach back to the beginnings of humankind some 200 thousand years ago.
Not our thoughts have power, but our programs.
The coronavirus crisis forces us to change our lifestyle. Since our lifestyle is a result of our mindset, ie our programs, the coronavirus crisis enforces a confrontation with our programs.
Every crisis is an opportunity. Every catastrophe is a chance.
The word crisis originates from the Greek word krinein (= to separate, decide). The word catastrophe originates from the Greek words cata (= down, against) and strephein (= to turn) and thus can be interpreted as “to turn around.”
Deceleration and reduction of social interactions mean more time alone, more time with/for oneself. For many people, this will be challenging. In fact, it may feel like a drug withdrawal to them.
I live in self-chosen social quarantine since 2014. I chose this lifestyle so that I can focus on my research, which is about the programs we have and how to get free from them. I know from years of experience how social quarantine feels, what it can do to us, and what enormous potential it has.
You can fill the time that the coronavirus induced change of lifestyle will generate with activities that distract you, such as reading books, watching movies, browsing the internet, or interacting with family and friends. Or you use at least part of it to deal with your mindset, to confront yourself with your programs, and to work on getting free from them. This would have positive effects on your body.
In other words, you also can use some of the time to improve your terrain – via your lifestyle as well as via your mindset.
The coronavirus pandemic is more than a fight against a virus. It is also a fight against our programs (involuntarily insofar as we are forced to change our lifestyle and thus our habits; voluntarily to the extent that we choose to improve the terrain that we offer the virus.)
Whether a situation is good or bad is a matter of perspective. From my perspective and experience, the coronavirus crisis also is a chance – both individually and globally.