This past week Deepak Chopra with Oprah Winfrey released another of their free 21-day meditation series in keeping with the present global pandemic of the Coronavirus. This three-week meditation can be found in the twitter hashtag #HopeGoesGlobal, as well as on any of Chopra’s websites like Chopra Center or Chopra Meditations. It runs from March 23 to April 13, the number of days everyone HOPES this epidemics needs to run its course.
Hope is a virtue, meaning it is a strength or power of our consciousness. The shutdown that our governments across the world want to impose on the virulent spread of Covid-19 seems to be the only way we have to stop this dreaded disease. So what is our human response to this threat to our lives? It is the consciousness of the power we have in the virtue of hope. “Hope” is a free flowing word in our vocabulary as in “I hope so…” Hope is the anticipation we experience when we “get our hopes up”- dopamine flows in anticipation for what we hope for, giving us the boost we need to wait for what we hope is coming.
Our consciousness, when awakened with hope, helps us in reframing our situation to anticipate a resolve or solution to our present concern. Judith Glaser, of happy memory, wrote deeply about Conversational Intelligence in which she embedded a three-step shift to uplift a conversation or dialogue, and even a thinking pattern, that can impact our thought processes. Nick Burnett has written a series of blogs on Glaser’s Leadership Conversations; his part six lists Glaser’s mind shift with her three steps of conversation agility, when it looks like a hostile argument is brewing.
Step 1 – refocus: changing one’s perspective from details to the big picture. If you feel stuck in a box, open the lid and look out freely to life around, to nature at its best.
Step 2 – reframe: move from negative to positive that is a learning experience; what lessons to be learned with the positive emotional energy our situation needs.
Step 3 – redirect: guide our intention and focus to a place of potential, what will come of our positive energy during our challenging setting.
Judith Glaser liked to use the old computer directive “double-click” to dive to a deeper meaning of what’s at hand. Through “double-clicking” we get a better understanding of self and others, which in turn provides appropriate perspectives, deeper beliefs, and points of view. “Double-clicking” activates the agility of conversational intelligence, to stay a little longer with Judith here.
If we “double-click” on our personal position in this year’s pandemic, we are called to refocus on our present situation as productive time to complete many things we have put off till now. There are many people who have to face confinement like those who fall sick or suffer an accident and are laid up; there are countless people in jail or disabled. Fantastic stories come out those situations like brilliant inventions, earning college degrees, writing books, experiencing fundamental life-style conversions. Check out the now famous story of Viktor Frankl, a doctor who survived the Nazi concentration camp. The creative mind can deal with any situation for the better.
Fear is not the opposite of hope; fear is the opposite of courage. The opposite of hope is doubt; we doubt that we can handle a lot of things. Doubt is negative, meaning “I can’t do it.” Hope is the strength of “Yes, I can!” Hope is courageous. Even if we wait, I can handle the wait to be stronger when the time comes. This is what athletes do as they train. It’s what we all do when we are preparing for what’s ahead. We all went to school to prepare for a career or a job. We lived with hope all that time. Why should what we are going through now be any different? Spend this time to prepare to go back to work, back to school, back to a busy life. In fact, what we are doing now should be busy time to prepare for different possibilities after the virus is done.
These might be uncertain times, but what we have today is not uncertain – it is certain that we are alive now. What do we want to do with this moment? Lots of choices: go for a walk, clean the house, exercise, read a book, start a daily diary, call a relative or friend, work on a crossword puzzle, meditate for five minutes, bake a cake, take a nap… should we keep the list going? We might try Nike’s slogan – Just do it! Be alive with Hope. Let’s be strong and full of Hope. Fear is a dead end. Let’s get moving.