A shot of an outdoor tunnel leading to an alleyway in Italy

I used to think that if I understood certain things, it would bring me peace of mind.

If I could understand why mom got sick, then it wouldn’t hurt as much. If I could wrap my brain around why that guy didn’t chase after me, then I’d maybe I’d feel better. If I could understand why that friendship didn’t work out, then perhaps it’d be easier to let it go.

I’m a Type A person, which means anything associated with comprehension, I rather enjoy. I like a schedule. I like order. I like rhythms and patterns I can anticipate. I like a plan.

I get weary in the face of change or uncertainty. While I love meeting new people, to be completely honest, I have a hard time adjusting when a close friend brings a new person to the inner circle. My subconscious screams, “But no, this is a safe place. Why do we have to change that?”

I like a plan. I get weary in the face of change or uncertainty.

This is me. In life, when things go wrong or not according to my plan, it’s as if my brain’s default setting says, “If I can just dissect the pieces of this thing I didn’t see coming, everything will be okay.” When things are shaky or uncertain, I reach for understanding as if it will steady the ground on which I stand.

Understanding.

Understanding is defined as the ability to comprehend something. Synonyms include apprehension, grasp, grip, mastery, perception, knowledge, awareness or digestion. If you are a visual learner like me, understanding something would best be depicted as a hand taking hold of something, gripping it with a clenched fist.

Oftentimes, when we seek to acquire answers and to understand things that don’t make sense, what we are really seeking is control. Aaaaah, there’s the light bulb! I, like most human beings, enjoy control. We think comprehension will help us get a grip on things, but in reality, it often only compels us to more fear.

We think comprehension will help us, but in reality, it often only compels us to more fear.

In today’s social climate with news of COVID-19, we are trying to wrap our brains around what’s happening. In essence, what we are really grasping for is a sense of control. Seeking comprehension in the age of the Internet often looks like more time spent behind screens. It means researching, clicking headlines, swiping up on stories and resharing stats.

How bad is it? How many people have actually been impacted? In what parts of the world is it the worst? How many days does it take for there to be signs of the virus? What is the government doing to find a vaccine? How long are we supposed to self-quarantine?

We seek to make sense of a virus that doesn’t make sense. We seek to make sense of the government’s response to it and the political process. We seek to make sense of wars, famines and untimely deaths. The reality is, there is much in life we cannot and will not understand. We never know what tomorrow holds. Plain and simple, there are limits to our human understanding.

There’s a lot happening in the world, and it’s easy to allow our minds to get swept up in fear. Instead, lets take inventory of our thoughts. As you scroll through headlines, reshare posts and repeat regurgitated news, ask yourself is it bringing you to a place of peace or fear? If the answer is the latter, then perhaps it’s time to take a step back from the need to know. In its place, take time to focus on what you do know.

Perhaps it’s time to take a step back from the need to know.

You know where your next meal is coming from. You know you have friends and family who you can call. You know the power of rest. You know the refreshing feeling of the sun on your skin and fresh air in your lungs.

Take some time to think about what you do know and allow it to fill your heart with gratitude. Gratitude will strip you of your need to know, and turn your eyes back to what you do know, what you do have and to the things you can control. Gratitude will turn your eyes back to this present moment.

Lets choose to set our eyes on good things today.

What has been your response to the recent news of COVID 19? How can you create an atmosphere of peace?

Image via Raisa Zwart Photography

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