And what about our fear?

            Do what you can to dial it down.

Seriously, you can fuel fear or starve it of fuel. The choice is yours.

You’ll feel less emotional if you decide to read the news online or in a paper, rather than watching it on TV. And limit yourself to twice a day, taking care to avoid alarmist-headlined stories. Facts, not fear.

Research over past decades demonstrates the benefits of meditation—even ten minutes a day—for alleviating stress and patterns such as fear or anxiety. At the end of this article, I’m including a link to a free guided meditation: “Feeling Worthy of Love.”

            Compassion in action.

With every precaution you take, such as covering your mouth when you cough, waving rather than shaking hands, washing your hands thoroughly and regularly, postponing visits to elderly relatives—is a gift and a protection not only for you, but for everyone you have any type of contact with, no matter how short.

We are all interconnected, and this is a really valuable lesson for us to remember: Whatever I do could literally save someone’s life.

 Invite your mind-heart to abide in kindness rather than judgment.

Compassion can be a wonderful antidote to fear. After 9/11, when I was preparing to fly to the US from my home in Holland I was extremely anxious, thinking: “What if I die on the flight?”

Then I read a teaching on compassion. I found it so touching that I thought, “If I have the intention to benefit beings by traveling to give a course, and I should die along the way, my heart would be in a good place, and I will be fine.”

            How can we get our heart in a good place?

We can practice holding our fear with tenderness rather than tension, panic or judgment. We can notice our resistance to fear and hold this also with tenderness: “This is really hard. I’m here, with you.” 

You might try that for a few minutes, taking a few slow deep breaths.

Then we can recognize that not only me, but thousands and millions of people are struggling with fear, uncertainty, ill health or loss at this very moment. We can hold their fear with tenderness as well, wishing them to be completely free, happy and well.

That’s the sacred secret of compassion—being touched by the suffering of others and wishing them to be free—results a deep sense of tender love and ease with our own situation. We can reflect:

This fear or suffering I’m feeling is experienced by millions of others; may we all be free of suffering and

find a true refuge or source of peace.

            Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit.

Below is an excerpt from a Facebook post by Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, Infectious Disease Specialist. He writes:

     I am not scared of Covid-19. I am concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil. I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health or disenfranchised who stand to suffer mostly, and disproportionately, at the hands of this new scourge. . .

Mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, open-mindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.

Covid-19 is nowhere near over. It will be coming to a city, a hospital, a friend, even a family member near you at some point. Expect it. Stop waiting to be surprised further. The fact is the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives.

But our own behaviors and “fight for yourself above all else” attitude could prove disastrous. I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society.

Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophising.


Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts. Our children will thank us for it.

—Dr. Abdu Sharkawy

A gift for you.

Click here to download a free guided meditation from my album and forthcoming book on Self-Compassion, titled: “Feeling Worthy of Love.”

In deutscher Sprache verfügbar; disponible en español

Click here to preview or buy the album, titled: “Joy, Ease and Self-Forgiveness”.

cliffs ocean Ireland

©2020 text and photo, Christine Longaker

Christine Longaker

Hospice and spiritual care pioneer and author of "Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying," Christine Longaker is writing a book on Self-Compassion, and developing trainings and an online course based on the book.

1 Comment

Michael Rizzo · December 12, 2021 at 7:49 pm

I’m new to Tibetan Buddhism — began study/classes early this year (2021]
I have a question that plagues me with no answer. Perhaps you can help.

If we are fundamentally perfect beings, why on earth would we waste time with samsara and all of the suffering? why not just perfectly rest in ground luminosity and get on with it?

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