We have a phrase in English, “Mind over matter”. Many in traditional and in alternative health practitioners believe that challenges in the physical can be overcome by the mind thinking positive. Books have been written documenting individual’s healing of illnesses with a simple change in mindset. The recent COVID19 pandemic has put this even more at the forefront.
Many who didn’t believe the virus was real have buried loved ones. Others believed they would be immune or have little response to COVID19 with a, “free of fear”, attitude, claiming when faced with a positive test, keeping a virus friendly mentality would allow for a safe and simple common cold experience. Some it was true, others faced a hard breaking experience. Now with the vaccines being administered globally the debate of take it or die and the anti vaccine mentality brings the mindset conundrum to an elevated level.
Last week I was informed a relative of mine (remaining nameless for personal reasons) had been hospitalized due to a reaction from the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. A healthy female was given advice to take this vaccine as she had some allergies to medications. Trusting the medical experts, she took the shot only to develop blood clots with seemingly no family history. After 3 weeks in the hospital, she now faces a month of three daily antibiotic shots from a nurse and then lung reassessment to investigate if keyhole surgery will be needed. She spent her 50th birthday in hospital. This vaccination shot was the regret she will hold with her forever.
Opposingly, a female friend of mine, Camilla Baker, contracted COVID19 in December 2020. A single mum, she was hospitalized over 4 nights and had a remarkable recovery. Her full story can be found in an interview on YouTube Channel - @Aware Meditation Inc. She tells all of how she contracted the virus, dealt with the situation and believes Vedic Meditation assisted her with a speedier exit than predicted from the hospital. Her full story can be read in Vedic Meditation Stories. She still took a vaccination shot in April.
After speaking with Cynthia Alvarado, who administers vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) full time in the Los Angeles area regarding the side effects, the protocols, the rates of transmission and moving forward I asked her if the vaccine will work permanently for all she said, “we just don’t know”. As of today only 28% of the population have been vaccinated. At least 80% must be vaccinated or have COVID19 immunity to develop herd immunity. Over 50 million children 12 and under will not be eligible till 2022. According to the Los Angeles Times article Dr. Kim Farley medical epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health states, “we probably will not be able to approach true herd immunity by the end of the year — unless people dramatically change in terms of their willingness to take [the] vaccine,” or that vaccinations are permitted to be expanded more rapidly to younger children.
So what happens between now and then? According to a Statista study over 51.4% of adults with less than a highschool diploma had experienced increased depressive disorders due to COVID19 in June 2020. As we transition as a globe, other stressors will increase, including the heated debate of vaccine vs immunity to achieve the 80% needed. This brings about much strain on the mental health aspects of living through a pandemic. The recent strain outbreak in Delhi India with shortages of Oxygen has brought to light the dramatic swing that this virus can bring about to any nation. India, once locked down with low transmission, is facing a crisis with aid being sent from around the world. This pandemic is not over by any means which means neither are our mental health challenges.
How do we cope as individuals? Do we keep the conversation light and avoid endless debates over the vaccine? Will it bring us together as more compassionate, caring and understanding as we unite over a common challenge? Thus far, in the United States, it appears to be dividing people more than uniting. However, both the medical field and alternative health practitioners do agree that meditation can help with the mind and mental health. Whether you are a meditation teacher like Camilla, recovering from hospitalization or an individual working administering vaccines, it is worth exploring. Camilla is excited to, “laugh fully at the Yo Mama’s Comedy Show”, a fundraiser with an all female line up supporting meditation being brought in large numbers to those in need in person. Indeed, laughter has many healing benefits as well.