people, most wearing masks, standing on the railing of a cruise ship
Image by pasja1000

Narrated by Marie T. Russell.

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Living through a global pandemic can feel surreal, as if we are living in a dreamworld. Though it can feel like we are living through a collective nightmare, there are precious gifts encoded within the experience that should not be overlooked. Of course it is imperative to deal with the physical outbreak of the virus by every means at our disposal. And yet, it would be a tragedy beyond measure if we focused our attention merely on its external manifestation while marginalizing what the pandemic is touching—and revealing—within us about ourselves.

An invisible specter in the field, the coronavirus is creating havoc in our world, disrupting business as usual as it ripples—both in our world and within our psyches—throughout the globe. To quote Jung,

“Everything could be left undisturbed did not the new way demand to be discovered, and did it not visit humanity with all the plagues of Egypt until it finally is discovered.” 

The coronavirus can be envisioned as a modern-day plague of Egypt. It is a living revelation that is dying to show us something about who we are and our place in the universe. What it is revealing to us about ourselves is crucially important for us to know. Our very survival depends upon receiving its message.

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We Are All In This Together

We hear every day the phrase We are all in this together. In the late 1950s, Jung wrote words that are as relevant today as they were then,

“We are in the soup that is going to be cooked for us, whether we claim to have invented it or not. . . . We are threatened with universal genocide if we cannot work out the way of salvation by a symbolic death.” 

In other words, we are fated to suffer an unconscious literal death if we don’t consciously go through a symbolic death. This symbolic death has everything to do with finding “the new way” that is demanding to be discovered by our current worldwide plague.

As we go through a species-wide dark night of the soul—the mythic night sea journey—our illusions about the world we live in—and ourselves as well—are being shattered. Seeing through our illusions is a symbolic death of the self that was wed to—and lived by—illusion.

Being disillusioned—having our illusions dispelled—is to become sober, stepping out of our intoxicated state. Being disillusioned is truly mortifying, a real death. It is the dying of an overly one-sided—and bogus—image of who we are (remember—one of wetiko’s other names is “ME disease,” i.e., a misidentification of who we think we are).

An Archetypal Death/Rebirth Experience

Our species has gotten drafted into an archetypal death/rebirth experience. In symbolically dying to a part of ourselves that is no longer serving us, another part of us is being reborn. We as a species have been drawn into the cycle of the death and rebirth of the gods. Said another way, having become part of a deeper mythic, archetypal, and alchemical process of transformation, we are going through a cosmic death/rebirth experience of a higher order.

The divine process of transformation is typically experienced as punishment, torment, an experience of death and then transfiguration. This divinely sponsored process is subjectively experienced by the human ego as torture. However, if we don’t personalize the experience, identify with it, or get stuck in its nightmarish aspect—a great danger—but allow this deeper process to refine us as it moves through us, it can lead to a transfiguration of our very being.

If we remain unconscious when a living archetypal process is activated within us, this inner process will physically manifest itself externally in the outside world. Here, as if by fate, it will get unconsciously dreamed up and acted out in a literal, concrete and oftentimes destructive way.

Instead of going through an inner symbolic death, for example, we then literally kill each other, as well as, ultimately, ourselves. If we recognize, however, that we are being cast to play a role in a deeper cosmic process, instead of being destined to enact it unconsciously, and hence, destructively, we are able to consciously and creatively “incarnate” this archetypal process as individuation.

We Are All in a State of Grieving

Whether consciously or not, since the advent of the coronavirus we are all in a state of grieving. The world we knew, as well as a false part of ourselves, is dying. Our sense of who we think we are—imagining we exist as a separate self, alien to and apart from other separate selves as well as the rest of the universe—is an illusion whose expiration date has now been reached.

If not recognized as illusory, this illusion can become reified and become a lethal mirage. Either our illusion (of existing as a separate self) expires, or we do. As the poet Rumi would say, we need to “die before we die.”

Seen as a dreaming phenomenon, we have collectively dreamed up a global pandemic, a modern-day plague of Egypt, an invasion by a mysterious microbe from which no one is immune, to help us dispel the primary illusion of the separate self and assist us in facing the reality of who we are in the greater scheme of things. We can—in potential—unite as one to overcome our common enemy, which on one level is the coronavirus, but on a deeper level is our ignorance of our interconnectedness with each other.

The Coronavirus Is Our Medicine

The coronavirus is the medicine that can help us get over ourselves and realize that the most vital and urgent task for humanity is to see through what Einstein famously calls an “optical delusion of consciousness”—the illusion of the separate self. To see through the illusion of the separate self is at the same time to take away the power that fear has over us (as well as to empower ourselves). For the experience of separation and fear (of “the other”) mutually co-arise, reciprocally reinforcing each other.

The coronavirus feeds off of and engenders fear—within us, all around us, and everywhere in between. Fear is contagious. When it develops enough collective momentum, it feeds on itself, taking on a seemingly autonomous and independent life of its own, driving a downward spiral into the darkness of the underworld.

As fear propagates itself throughout the field, it unleashes the terrifying and fearsome powers of darkness. This then inspires more fear in a never-ending, crazy-making feedback loop. When fear becomes rampant, we become more susceptible to being controlled by external forces.

Becoming Lucid In The Waking Dream of Life

Our day-to-day lives have changed and become so surreal. Yet if we manage to step out of and not be caught by our fear, it has actually become much easier to recognize the dreamlike nature of reality. Hence it has become easier than it was before the pandemic’s arrival to become lucid in the waking dream of life. It is as if we are living in a dystopian Philip K. Dick sci-fi novel or movie in which our world has turned upside down and inside out. What could be more dreamlike than that?

It is noteworthy that recognizing the dreamlike nature of our shared reality is a realization that dispels fear. Realizing the dreamlike nature is to recognize that we are dream characters—­embodied reflective aspects—of each other. We all exist relative to—are related to—each other in a seamless interdependent web of mutual connectivity.

This realization carries within it an implicit intuition that otherness and separation are ultimately illusory mental constructs. There is no separate self anywhere to be found when we realize the dreamlike nature of the universe.

When we get right down to it, the coronavirus elicits fear, as well as—by revealing reality’s dreamlike nature—also potentially dispelling the very fear it triggers. It is up to each one of us which of these parallel universes—one riddled with fear; the other, dreamlike beyond belief—we invest our attention in, and hence, create.

If we choose the universe ridden by fear, we will undoubtedly be doomed to a tragic fate. If we recognize that the universe is in fact a collective dream, however, and choose to consciously step into the dream, we discover that the universe is malleable. This is to say that we have a hand (or two) in creating it. As we come to understand this, we begin to realize our intrinsic creative power, another one of the gifts offered us by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Lesson of The Pandemic Is Clear

American journalist I. F. Stone was right when he said,

“Either we learn to live together or we die together.”

The lesson of the pandemic is clear. Due to our interconnectedness, a health problem in any part of the world can rapidly become a health problem for everyone around the globe. Our world has shrunk.

We truly live in a global village. Our tolerating, turning a blind eye toward, or worse yet, engendering disease in any place in the world is at our own peril. This new way of seeing the interrelated unity of humanity can be called “holographic awareness.” Just like every fragment of a hologram contains the whole hologram, each of us contains encoded within us the whole, which is to say that if any of us are sick we all are affected.

The coronavirus pandemic is a form of collectively shared trauma to which no one is immune. The coronavirus doesn’t create an aftershock, it itself is the shock. The virus is multidimensional—having a micro and macro aspect—in that it doesn’t just shock our system, it shocks “the system.”

No one among us is untouched by its shattering impact, both upon our lives and within our psyches. When we are shaken up by trauma, however, it can—potentially—be the impetus for a long-dreamed of transformation within our soul, as our inner constitution can be rewritten in a way that helps us to become free.

The coronavirus, by so shaking up our world, our ordinary routines as well as our psyches, is potentially “a lucidity stimulator” undreamed of until now, potentially catalyzing us to greater heights of lucidity. But being like a dream, how the coronavirus pandemic manifests within our minds—as nightmare or lucidity stimulator—depends upon whether or not we recognize what it is revealing to us about ourselves, and what we do with what it has triggered within us. The coronavirus can help us to remember that it is within ourselves that our true power and agency lies—another of its many gifts.

Encoded In The Virus Is Its Own Vaccine

It is of the utmost significance that the coronavirus is a quantum phenomenon, in that it contains within itself both death-­creating poison as well as its own medicine. Encoded in the virus is its own vaccine. As interdependently connected cells in a greater living organism, each of us is being demanded by the coronavirus to realize how we can synergistically cooperate together so as to resist and overcome its invasion. Though itself continually mutating, the coronavirus is, when push comes to shove, forcing us to expand our consciousness. As such, the coronavirus is a powerful catalyst for human evolution.

As Jung reminds us, a “new way”—which he likens to an undiscovered vein that lives within the greater body politic of humanity that connects us all—is “demanding” to be discovered. This unknown vein within us is a living part of the psyche that connects us with the creativity of our mutually shared collective consciousness. It connects us with each other, with our wholeness, and thereby heals our fragmentation (both within ourselves and amongst each other).

This is the gift concealed within the disease that not only helps us to heal the disease, but heals us as well.

Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Printed with permission.
Published by Inner Traditions Intl.

Article Source:

Book: Wetiko

Wetiko: Healing the Mind-Virus That Plagues Our World
by Paul Levy

book cover of Wetiko: Healing the Mind-Virus That Plagues Our World by Paul LevyIn its Native American meaning, wetiko is an evil cannibalistic spirit that can take over people’s minds, leading to selfshness, insatiable greed, and consumption as an end in itself, destructively turning our intrinsic creative genius against our own humanity.

Revealing the presence of wetiko in our modern world behind every form of destruction our species is carrying out, both individual and collective, Paul Levy shows how this mind-virus is so embedded in our psyches that it is almost undetectable--and it is our blindness to it that gives wetiko its power.

Yet, as the author reveals in striking detail, by recognizing this highly contagious mind parasite, by seeing wetiko, we can break free from its hold and realize the vast creative powers of the human mind.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of Paul Levy, author of Wetiko: Healing the Mind-Virus that Plagues our WorldPaul Levy is a pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence and a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for more than 35 years. He has intimately studied with some of the greatest spiritual masters of Tibet and Burma. He was the coordinator of the Portland chapter of the PadmaSambhava Buddhist Center for over twenty years and is the founder of the Awakening in the Dream Community in Portland, Oregon. 

He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis (2006), Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (2013), Awakened by Darkness: When Evil Becomes Your Father (2015) and The Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality (2018)

Visit his website at

More books by this Author.