For the sake of learning, I’d like to ask you to consider the circumstances since the start of 2020 as a grand psychological experiment.

Of course, it has not been.

But considering how we might react if this were a lab experiment can help us find some great compassion for the difficulties we are experiencing now.

So, let’s imagine that it is a story and you work with the researchers.

Imagine that you begin your grand experiment by introducing a great amount of uncertainty: “There is a deadly virus that we don’t know much about, except that it is highly contagious and we don’t have the ability to stop it.”

Have leaders of government and science offer contradictory reports

Do not allow research subjects to touch their friends or see half of each other’s faces except on video

Choreograph the murders of minority groups by those sworn to protect them

And wait.
See what happens. Do they start to get nervous tics? Do they start more fights? Will they still go out of their way to be nice to each other?
What trends do we see in terms of people accessing nature?

Orchestrate what seems to be the near collapse of government
And watch.

Which might you expect the research subjects to experience?

Flashbacks to other traumas?
Generally Distrust / Fear
Lots of laughter?
Community withdrawal?
Confusion / Despair / Fatigue?
Anxiety? Substance abuse?
Nonetheless, deep spiritual self care?

And what do you imagine the research subjects might experience as the restrictions are suddenly lifted?

(That’s how you are today.)

In my work as a rabbi, I have found many good people have an easier time being compassionate to others who are in their same circumstance.

That’s why I asked you to imagine this as a grand psychological experience. Because you know you would be compassionate to THAT OTHER person.

Remember to be kind to yourself.
Continue self-compassion.

This has been a rough year and a half.

Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer resides in Portland, Oregon. He is the founder and head of Religion-Outside-The-Box, an internet-based, global group of 3.3K+ digital-age seekers. ROTB produces excellent spiritual content.

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