There is an ongoing battle regarding the wearing of masks during the current crisis involving COVID 19.  On one side, are those who believe masks protect us and protect others.  On the other side, are those who believe masks deny us our freedoms and are part of a larger governmental conspiracy attempting to control us.    

I should state up front that I do believe the virus (COVID 19) is real, that it is highly contagious, that it affects everyone (no matter your age or health status), and that we are currently in a world-wide health crisis that should be taken very seriously.  I also believe that viruses are natural to the Earth, and they serve a planetary purpose. 

There is a fundamental difference in perspective that exists between those who believe we should be wearing masks during this pandemic, and those who don’t.  It’s a difference that focuses on individual responsibility. 

Those who believe we should be wearing masks, believe each individual has a responsibility to protect others.  For them, the mask prevents an ill person, or an asymptomatic person who doesn’t know they are ill, from infecting others, as well as providing additional protection to the mask wearer.

Those who believe we should not be wearing masks, or that the wearing of masks should not be mandated, believe each individual has a responsibility only to themselves.  For them, the mask is a form of control over their own personal choices and freedoms.

My perspective is this:

We have reached a critical time in our history and in the evolution of human consciousness.  The current world-wide health crisis, and each government’s response to it, is not, in my opinion, a plot to control people. The virus is real, and the need to keep people safe is real.  From my perspective, the virus is playing an important role in the evolution of human consciousness and in the survival of our planet.  The Earth, which is a living Being, is evolving, but it is very ill due to overwhelming and damaging human activity that has resulted from our collective inability to live responsibly and sustainably on this planet.  Just as we would take action to prevent something upon us or within us, from destroying us, so might the planet also be taking a form of corrective action to save its life.  Our problems have been too big and too overwhelming to adequately address, and big money certainly has no interest in changing the course we have been on.  To assist us in changing our paradigm, the Earth sent us a virus.  A virus was able to do what no individual or collective body could do:  it brought all activity on the planet to a standstill!  In doing so, it gave us an opportunity to re-set our vision, to think, to slow down polluting, to put rich and poor on similar footing (though I know they are never truly on the same footing), to spend more time with our families and less time at our jobs so that we could re-think our values, to provide less distraction so as to pay more attention to what is going on around us, and to have the opportunity to begin to find new ways of interacting in the world and with each other. This is the gift of the virus – to allow us the opportunity, if we are willing, to change course from where we were going.  It is why it is insane, so to speak, to be trying to go back to the way things were. How governments have responded, says a lot about their own values and their concern for the wellbeing of people under their care.  Governments mandating masks and shutting down businesses, while providing monetary and health relief to their citizens and businesses, understood the seriousness of what was occurring.  Governments who provided no support to their citizens, leaving everyone to figure it out on their own without resources while also mandating that citizens put themselves at risk to save themselves and their economies, did not understand the seriousness of what was occurring.  The first example provides the possibility of pursuing a different path forward, while protecting people from unnecessary suffering during the transition from old to new.  The latter example rejects change, attempts to force everything back to where it was before the pandemic struck, and is willing to sacrifice people, their health and their livelihoods, in the process.  And the mask has become the symbol of these divergent paths.

The wearing of a mask should not be seen as a restriction.  What is causing restriction, is the belief that freedom is about doing whatever you want, no matter the cost to other people and all living things.  We co-exist, whether we like it or not, and what we do to others, we do also to ourselves. 

In addition to providing the best protection against the virus, there is deep symbolism in the wearing of a mask that offers us some important lessons – something that we should consider.  It brings a…..  

  • Focus on the eyes – Notice how the mask forces us all to look more deeply into a person’s eyes.  We connect more directly when we make eye contact, and the eyes make it possible to look into a person’s soul. To save ourselves and the planet, we need to have more personal, intimate connections with each other. 
  • Focus on listening and speaking – Notice how the mask muffles our speech, resulting in the need to speak up and speak clearly.  To be better stewards of the earth and partners in creating a new world, we need to find our voice, speak our truth clearly, and insist on being heard so that we can contribute to the conversation.
  • Focus on our sameness – Notice how the mask forces us to look at each other more as human beings encountering the same experiences.  Prior to the wearing of masks, many people were most likely invisible to us, and we only “saw” them through their difference.  We see everyone when they are wearing a mask – and it is so important that we begin to develop the ability to “see everyone”, “as one”, “all in the same boat together”, so that we can begin addressing our issues as a species, and not as individuals with separate and opposing agendas. 
  • Focus on health – Notice how the mask reminds us of illness.  Our planet is very sick.  Humanity is the cause of much of the damage to the environment and to each other.  And neither healthy life and food choices, nor good healthcare, are available to every human being, thus contributing to never-ending cycles of illness and suffering.  To change our conditions, we need to first recognize that we may be the cause of human and planetary illness.  The real purpose of the mask is to prevent us from making others sick, whether we know we are infected or not.  The mask reminds us that we are always having an impact on the well-being of others. 

I hope that we can all reach a point where we can take the lessons of the virus to heart, and begin seeing how our individual actions have immense consequences.  Most causes of human suffering are caused by human beings.  The choices you make, matter. You have an opportunity to make a positive difference. As a first step, please consider wearing a mask.