A Calling for Kindness from the World during COVID-19

        

                                                    Tinakon Wongpakaran, MD, FRCPsychT        July 2020

It has been five months since the first outbreak of corona virus, causing the death toll to rise to 606,751 globally (18 July 2020). This ongoing process creates tremendous anxiety and fear to people everywhere. We all are hoping to approach the light at the end of the tunnel, and create an effective vaccine, as soon as possible.

Along the way to the solution, many people feel frustrated over multiple problems especially those related to economic difficulty. While some find their way to survive, some find it so difficult to get through. Hope, positive thinking, and encouragement offer the best medicine for now. During such uncertainty of the future, we all need to be aware and seriously consider about how we really can help our beloved ones and ourselves. One thing is to protect ourselves and to protect others by masking up, using alcohol to wash hands, and keeping physical distancing. Nobody knows for sure to what extent we can save other people including ourselves practicing such simple methods – but that is what doctors and scientists are suggesting us.

Some may find it very easy to follow those procedures while some are frustrated doing that and wait for other measures to combat the disease which is, to the best of our knowledge- nonexistent for now. Even though wearing a mask is needed during this crisis, some may feel it too demanding and find it difficult to comply especially when they feel compelled to do so. Whatever the reasons are behind not wanting to wear a mask and keeping distance they conceivably put themselves and others at risk. Isn’t it about time we take this situation seriously? What could be an acceptable notion to base our sacrifice for complying? Maybe the time has arrived to evoke our inner character of kindness; we all have it with us since we were very young. Kindness, like other virtues, always emerges whenever we get in touch with calmness and serenity, a state of mind with positive and bold mental health. When we keep our mental state free from bias, prejudice, and five hindrances, we approach tranquility and loving-kindness; then we receive pearls of wisdom. Wisdom makes us squirm loose from self-arrogance, we can see clearly about the suffering people are experiencing, and how we could be of help. Our actions arising from our kindness will keep ourselves and others safe from the disease. This is the challenge we must accept according to our ‘kindness” to others. These important actions may go unnoticed by most people. Meditating on kindness keeps us aware of wearing a mask and helps us never forget to wear a mask in public.

Kindness is a character strength. It never comes by chance; it appears when we are mentally healthy. It remains rooted in loving humanity and is not just a responsibility for society. Despite the fact that we have both bright and dark sides of thought and emotions, we need to connect to the kindness ingrained in our heart and bring it out to share with others as much as we possibly can.

I, on behalf of all iMMH people, am deeply concerned with our friends and beloved ones around the world. I strongly believe that one of the best ways we can achieve this is to keep ourselves safe and to protect others at the same time. All these actions and notions rely heavily on the “kindness” that dwells in us all.  

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