I’m writing this in September 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has been raging for 20 months or so. There’s been almost 230 million cases, and 4.7 millions deaths, according to the World Health Organisation. Here in New Zealand / Aotearoa, where I live, we’ve had 3,763 cases and 27 deaths and 37.5% of the population is fully vaccinated.
That’s a result of following an elimination strategy, locking down our borders – hard – and using highly restrictive Lockdowns to control outbreaks.
We’re on the tail end – possibly – of a Delta outbreak. This Lockdown, mostly in Auckland, our biggest city, has been the longest and toughest to date. The government, slow on the vaccination train in early 2021, is now gunning for a 90% vaccination rate, and is promising we’ll have all kinds of freedoms when we get to that rate.
The premise is that with a high rate of vaccination, the rate of spread will be slow enough that our hospitals and ICU will be able to keep up.
The team of five million is being encouraged, strongly, to do their part, and get vaccinated.
And since the latest Delta outbreak began, vaccination rates have shot up – 37.5% of the population have had both shots of the Pfizer vaccination on offer here. 72.5% have had one shot.
Lockdown protests have been tiny – numbering in the handfuls of people only. Kiwis, as New Zealanders are affectionately known, are most being compliant with the health orders that govern Lockdowns.
Yet there are still significant numbers of people that are anti-vaccination, or vaccine hesitant. Polls indicate that around 20% of the population falls into one of those two groups. There are also those who don’t trust the official narrative around COVID-19, or the Lockdowns, or vaccinations. There are a variety of narratives that are floating around that are not aligned with the offical narrative.
So what’s true? What’s really going on? Is it all a big Pharma scam to make shitloads of money and control our bodies? Is it about governments seizing more control? Is Bill Gates injecting us all with micro chips?
Here’s where I sit with it all, as a committed Tantrika, focused on awakening and liberation.
1. Everything is a narrative. It’s all a construct.
Yup – we live in a social structure dominated by language that generates stories which influences perception that dictates behaviour. Our minds thrive on creating stories that make us feel safe, that make us feel like we belong, that makes us feel like we’re loved. Of course, our minds ALSO thrive on creating stories that generate fear and anxiety, and that activate protective mechanisms which separate us out from our families and friends. Humans are meaning-making machines and story-making machines.
And from a Tantrik perspective, the official narrative IS JUST A NARRATIVE. But so are all the other narratives. The question here isn’t which narrative is true (none of them are, on the absolute level, because no thought and no story is ever true. Truth can not be expressed in words).
All narratives are ultimately false, although some are more aligned with reality than others.
2. There is no objective reality ‘out there’.
Human beings project the world of their experience like a movie projector on to a screen. Only it’s not a completely blank screen. That human projector filters reality through the person’s beliefs, traumas, and karmas and determines HOW the person sees the world, and therefore how they interact with it. As Christopher Wallis says in this exploration of Sutra 2 of The Recognition Sutras, which explains this teaching in details; ‘your whole life is an expression of what is within you.’
If someone believes that the world is out to get them, that’s the world that they will experience, respond to and generate. (Ok, I’m hugely over simplifying this Tantrik teaching to give you a taste within a 100 words article. Read Wallis’ article for a more in-depth and nuanced explanation.)
When a person dissolves a belief, or digest and childhood trauma, or completes karma, the world appears differently, then the person interacts with the world differently, which means they experience the world differently.
This is a fundamental teaching – it points to the veil that people experience between themselves and the apparent world out there. Awakening is when the veil is pierced and conditioning no longer filters the person’s experience. Which leads us into…
3. There is just ‘what is happening’. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is.
Ah the is-ness of life. Something is happening… is it good? Is it bad? Only if you make it so… otherwise, it just is… Again, this is a fundamental Tantrik teaching and realising the truth of it is unlikely to happened within a paragraph. This article from Christopher Wallis may help.
Or, try this inquiry. What would your experience of life be like if you no longer constantly categorised everything according to likes/dislikes, wants/don’t want, good/bad, right/wrong?
What if… there was just whatever was happening, and you responded to that? What if there were no judgement or thoughts about something – anything – being right/wrong, good/bad. (There are nuances to this View Teaching! Just more than I can explain here.)
This teaching invites us to immerse in reality as it is, without fighting against life (aversion) nor clinging to it (attachment). It asks us to simply be with what is, and to then respond from that place – which could be either getting vaccinated or not.
These are View Teaching in Tantra – ways to look at reality in order to awaken and liberate. This is my orientation to this life, and therefore the lens with which I view vaccination.
If I’m applying those View Teachings, how does it impact my choice to get vaccinated, or not?
First, I have no investment in other people’s perspectives of the narratives or on vaccinations. Believe what you like, do what you want. I do have an investment from the perspective of a spiritual teacher in that it’s my role to invite students to question all of their conditioning in order to liberate. But this only arises within a particular context. If I’m hanging out with friends, and they’re all about vaccination, I’m like, yeah! And if I’m hanging out with friends and they’re all like anti-vaccination, I’m like yeah! If someone asks me for input, or perspective, I’ll offer it – but from the viewpoint of awakening and liberation, not pro or anti anything.
When it comes to getting vaccinated, I’ve been sitting in the unknown. If anybody’s asked me about it, I’ve been saying, ‘I don’t know.’ Because I don’t – know. I am waiting to see what is indicated, beyond thought and beyond conditioned mind.
Now, I’m beginning to get an inkling of what may be indicated. The data coming my way suggests that long Covid is a thing. A risk benefit analysis suggests that it’s safer to get the vaccine that it is to get Covid. And all these other people here in NZ are getting on the team, and doing the thing.
Where do I want to sit in relation to that?
I’ve also been pondering death. Let’s say, worst case scenario, that everyone who has had the vaccine drops dead in five years time (I’m making this up people, it’s not a thing, it’s a thought experiment). Do I want to be someone left behind, still alive? Or dead? When I run that thought experiment in my head, the answer that arises is that… it doesn’t matter. Whatever. Die, or not die. From the perspective of one identified with consciousness, it doesn’t matter.
Of course, then you could say, why get vaccinated if you don’t care about dying anyway. Just get COVID instead.
True. Which brings me to my next point…
When I feel into the difference between jumping on the waka, or not, I get a felt-sense of surrender versus separation. That felt sense is like… this is the construct, this is the game, am I in, or not in? And the feeling is… in. I’m in. I’m with you all.
If this is the ride on the great merry-go round of life, why not, fuck it. I’m jumping in.
Now this is still nebulous. It’s not definitive. Although writing it out publicly is making it more alive in me. But this is what I’m beginning to feel – that vaccination is indicated, that it’s no big deal, that it’s just what’s happening. That it’s less risky than getting Covid-19.
What happens now is I continue to sit in the unknown, whilst sensing this arising potentiality, and I wait to see what happens. It’s entirely possible that I may find myself outside a vaccination clinic at some point in the near future, and then find myself in there, being vaccinated.
Hey look Ma! I got vaccinated!
And as I write that now, I feel excitement bubbling up. Excitement at chatting to the health professionals, shining a little light and love their way for the service they’re doing. Excitement at… what’s the excitement at… it feels like freedom. It feels like joy. It feels light. Who knew – feeling freedom ‘cos I got vaccinated.
And that’s a fairly good indication for me of what might likely happen. Now, I stay attuned and see what shows up in my field over the next few days, weeks or months… and what happens.
This is my process.
The question I sit with is ‘what’s indicated?’.
What’s indicated beyond mind, beyond belief, beyond conditioning, beyond?
What happens if there’s total surrender to life as it happens through the body/mind interface?
Because that’s real freedom. It’s not something that any government can ever take away, or give to you. Real freedom comes when you awaken to your true nature (awareness, consciousness, essence nature) and when you liberate from conditioning. It’s not dependent at all on external circumstances. And to that end, I’m not afraid of anyone ‘taking away my freedom’. Because they can’t.
So if you’re concerned about freedom, about control, and about freedom being taken away… and you’d like to feel free no matter what happens externally… I’d invite you to take a look at the teachings and practices of Classical Tantra. You may want to check out my facebook group, 21st Century Tantrika.
That’s the pathway to a freedom that’s not dependant on external circumstances. And that’s the only kind of freedom there can ever really be.
Because if your freedom is dependant on something external being a particular way.
It’s not freedom at all.