Diagnosed HIV+ in 1990, I lived with what we termed ‘full blown’ AIDS from 1995 to ’98, eventually turning the corner when my body responded to the new protease inhibitor drugs. As the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic shakes human societies across the planet to the core in Spring 2020, parallels and comparisons with the AIDS years are appearing on the internet. For some of us Long Term Survivors it does feel like we went through a training for the apocalypse, that we were some kind of ‘advance guard’, receiving important lessons in plague survival which can now be shared.
Writer Mark Matousek gets straight to the heart of the lessons we learnt on the AIDS front line in a piece entitled ‘Practice Dying: Waking Up in Perilous Times’:
“For the first time in recorded history, human beings around the world are confronting our mortality in real time together, fighting a common adversary that would like to put us all out of business.” He acknowledges the general thrust happening globally to find meaning in this crisis, also the “xenophobia; altruism, camaraderie, and gratitude for the smallest things”, but sees greater potential:
”The coronavirus has given humankind the chance to “practice dying” (as Socrates described the central mission of all philosophy) together as an endangered species. Besides the threat of personal illness, we have the unique opportunity to share this dread with everyone else we know, who are facing their own mortality. If we can acknowledge the truth of our plight, I believe, and heal ancient rifts in the human family, we have a chance to turn this catastrophe into a major boon for humanity’s future.
“I know that this is possible because I’ve lived it. At the height of the AIDS crisis, 30 years ago, I saw how death and dying could enlighten a whole community. For more than a decade, we waited for the guillotine to fall, surrounded by thousands of others on the same chopping block. Terrifying and painful as these years were, they were also the most transformative of my life. Emotional walls collapsed, compassion exploded across social lines, and spiritual values became the norm, as we waited in the shadows of another virus. Sick people took care of sick people. Nobody was completely safe, which brought us even closer together. Love showed up in guises we never expected.“ https://shift.theshiftnetwork.com/practice-dying-waking-up-perilous-times
Mark says that “Without the threat of mortal loss, I would have never had had the conviction — the fuel — to become the person I wanted to be or to find my way through terrible dread to something stronger than my fear.”
This was also my experience – AIDS was an unexpected kind of spiritual grace for me, because through confronting my mortality I discovered parts of my soul that had been previously hidden, and as I recovered from sickness a new, much more engaged, emotionally and spiritually connected new life began for me. I call AIDS my ACCELERATED INDIVIDUAL DISCOVERY OF SELF, and I have often wondered if the unfolding revelation of the soul’s mysteries that I experienced might be at some point coming to the species en masse.
I came out of the AIDS years with a view that a virus has a job to do. My mind opened to the possibility of consciousness as a unified field of experience – with an eventual destination ahead of love-fuelled cosmic oneness in full glory on this planet – and I came to see HIV as an awakener to the fact that we are each individual embodiments of one divine wholeness, and that life and death are two versions of the same experience, just like day and night.
By facing death, losing the fear of it, even befriending it (and beings who live on that side of the veil!), we have the chance to release the potent creative powers in our bodies, minds and souls. So much of our human nature is veiled behind our fears. Love is the antidote that reveals the way. Love for our selves, our partners, friends and family, our tribes and all living things. This is the potential in the human heart – to rise above the conflicts and delusions of the ego, the part of us that believes itself separate from everything else – and form a culture of compassion and self-discovery that celebrates all forms of love, all forms of joyful sexuality, and the ecstatic mystery held within the human body, in nature, in life itself. It is through the heart that we can know directly our sacred oneness with each other and all existence.
In this mystical view, the Coronavirus is part of us and its name gives us a clue to its ultimate goal. The Crown Chakra at the top of our head opens our energy fields up to the spirit, to the multidimensional universe, to the ability of our soul to fly between worlds. Fear blocks access to this light. Surrendering fear and embracing love and trust brings internal connection to the powerful and subtle forces of the universe. We do not need science to tell us if these other dimensions exist or not -we have the perfect instrument, designed by Nature Herself, with which to explore them, our own bodies, minds and emotions.
I replaced god with science and became a self declared atheist at the age of 12, when events at school brought home the shocking revelation that the teachers did not actually believe the religious platitudes they espoused daily in assembly – particularly in relation to death and the afterlife. I had proposed that a way to deal with overpopulation in the world would be to create places where people could choose to go and die when they had had enough of being here – in my innocent mind would simply return happily to heaven. I think even at that age I was aware of old people shut away in care homes, no longer engaging life actively and simply waiting to die. I could not understand why we tried so hard to keep them here in a state of suffering.
The teachers were of course horrified, I was taken aside for a very serious chat! Five decades later western culture faces ongoing crises in care provision for elderly people. Coronavirus erupts around the world and there is great outrage and shock expressed left, right and centre about old people in care homes dying from it – about 50% of the deaths across Europe so far we recently learned.
From where I am standing however this virus is offering souls who have completed their life mission here a chance to get out., so of course it’s finding willing hosts in care homes. Our death-phobic culture will not let people go peacefully with grace at a time of their own choosing, so the ‘Angel of Death’ has to intervene. I’m not saying there is no tragedy, or ‘accidental’ deaths along the way, but the Coronavirus is also delivering grace.
Of course this Angel of Death is doing a lot of things for us – offering us a chance to gain some perspective on our lives, individually and collectively, through this enforced time of quarantine for nearly half of the world’s population – to review how we are living on the planet, reconsider how we are treating her and each other, what we make our priorities. We are going through the most profound collective paradigm shift our species has ever experienced – it is happening quickly, and it is very difficult and challenging. Yet it is exactly what we have been waiting for, and what some of us have even been pre-trained by life to be ready for.
Hank Trout writes on aumag.org, that “We need to remember AIDS lessons learned.”
“We elders in the tribe who lived through the entirety of the AIDS pandemic, have learned we need to take care of our own. We know how to do it.” https://aumag.org/
Mark S. King, author of Myfabulousdisease has written of the Coronavirus prompting flashbacks to the AIDS wards of the 1980s, and while at first, like some others, resistant to drawing comparisons with our experience of AIDS – this time after all world governments acknowledge its existence and are applying resources, something we had to fight hard to get, (no need to remind you i’m sure of the virulent homophobia that erupted) – he too speaks of the grace that will be accessed through this time of trial: “We haven’t yet seen the best our humanity has to offer, It’s coming and you’ll know it when you see it.” https://marksking.com/
One commenter on Myfabulousdisease called COVID-19 “a walk in the park” compared to AIDS. Kevin Jennings on Them.us described the “level of attention and alarm for the coronarvirus versus the apathy that greeted HIV is life a slap in the face.” The New York Times reported that the pandemic is bringing “for HIV survivors, a feeling of weary Deja Vu.” (their caps)
Californian blogger Martina Clark says that compared to HIV, Coronavirus is a “supersonic bullet train” – HIV was for most of the population ‘somebody else’s disease’ but this virus “knows no borders and does not discriminate.” https://martina-clark.com/
Well – fair enough….. however, HIV didn’t infect everybody it could have, AIDS didn’t kill everyone it might have – me for example. The materialist paradigm puts us at war with nature – and this virus is nature, can be seen as nature’s response to the way we are treating the planet – and ultimately therefore at war with ourselves. Fear of death and ignorance of the multidimensional mysteries of the consciousness keep humanity gripped in a three dimensional drama of tragedy and torment. But facing the fear and seeking direct personal knowledge and understanding of our spiritual nature as conscious living beings, are what will reveal the deeper layers of what is going on to us a species and our own individual part within that.
There is no faster way to wake up to the soul
to escape the illusions that humanity has fallen into
and to rebirth yourself as a timeless entity
on a mystery adventure called life
than to face the end, and make it your friend
FOR THERE IS IN FACT NO END
you are eternal – stop fearing death
release each fear with an outbreath.
EMBRACE LOVE, EMBRACE LIFE
there has never been a more miraculous time to be alive.
The 2020s will be a DIVINE DECADE
Society will shake, there will be plagues and earthquakes
but humanity will finally be more AWAKE.
Interconnectedness plain for all to see
I’m another YOU, and You another ME
the journey we’ve been on is called History
now it’s time to evolve and be free.
Our species united, through love or through fear
A new way of being together is near
Advanced understanding of our creative gifts
Finding a new divine way to live.
All paths have been leading to this time
All paths become One
Divine Self online.
Since 2012 as the Mayans said:
the Old World is Dead!
But the new one barely yet born.
Some fear the End and read the signs
but others know there is more to these times:
Ancient hands still guide our way
There will be a brand new day…
Prophecies and predictions have long foretold
of a total break with ways now old:
Since 2012 the light of superconsciousness shines
but is only visible to those with 3 eyes,
Planet Earth has into two divided –
there are some in the light
but most dwell in the lies
espoused by religions, politicians and the unwise.
Everyone can have a voice in the internet age
but those who listen to their own inner sage
are the ones who are really turning the page.
in this time of trial there are many lessons to be learnt
just as there were in the time of AIDS.
We were vanguards, scouts on the edge
living and dying in the aids pandemic.
For 15+ years our trial did endure
and still there is no vaccine or cure –
we learned about community, compassion and care-giving
we gained insight into mystery
learned about death
also learned a lot about isolation,
learned to be patient as well as kind
for healing and transformation can take time.