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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

The Deeper Meaning of Coronavirus

As the Jewish people celebrate Passover this week, and Christians reexperience the death of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday, people throughout the world are suffering from Coronavirus.  This is a good time to reflect on what we can learn from these experiences, and how we can learn new ways of living and working.

The Buddha said, “All life is suffering,” but until this moment the world has never experienced such a collective suffering – a suffering caused by an invisible virus that invades our bodies, is passed from one person to the next, and ultimately causes the death of hundreds of thousands of people. If we ever are to experience a crucible moment that is shared by us all, this is it.

No doubt some are suffering much more than others – some from having coronavirus and others from the extreme economic hardships it is causing, but all of us are going through a time in our lives that we have never experienced before.

This is an appropriate to pause and ask ourselves, “What can we learn from the coronavirus experience that will enable us to lead fuller and more meaningful lives? How can we find deeper spiritual meaning from this experience?”

Here are some of my thoughts on this question:

  • We are learning again just how precious life and our health are.
  • We are reconnecting with our families in new and more meaningful ways.
  • We are caring for each other even as we are separated and learning to be connected while apart.
  • We are appreciating the importance of community and finding new ways to create community.
  • We are asking ourselves whether all our busyness leads to a better life.
  • We are realizing just how superficial our materialistic desires are.
  • We are recognizing what is truly important in life and the role love plays in our lives.
  • We are recommitting to make a difference in the world, using our gifts to help other people.
  • We are exploring our spiritual lives again, trusting in our belief in the Higher Power.
  • We believe we will emerge from this experience wiser, more caring, and more intentional in living lives with meaning.