I am not always sure how to respond when a friend tells me they are going through a difficult time.  It isn’t that I don’t care. Quite the opposite. I care disproportionately as a rule. What I am unsure about is the proper response.

“You are in my prayers”?

“Keeping positive thoughts”?

“Sending hugs”?

None of that feels right – or rather complete – to me.

If I am with the person, physically, instinct takes over. I am a hugger. I give into my compulsion to wrap my arms around my suffering friend as if I can magically draw out their pain with simple human contact.

But on the phone, via text or social media, I freeze up.

My own understanding of how energy in this universe works is often not simpatico with others’ personal beliefs.  My Facebook profile lists my spiritual view as “Catholic plus Physics”. The ‘About’ boxes in which we are expected to describe ourselves to the world are far too small to encompass who we actually are. My comprehension of The Order of the World ™ stems from a vision. (Or was it a hallucination? Do we ever really know for sure?) The vision was nonlinear, which makes it even more challenging to describe to others. The physics side of my belief system stems from this vision.

As we learned in high school physics, energy can be neither created nor destroyed.  Death is simply an energy changing form. In that sense, I suppose, I draw a sense of comfort from physics.  No one is ever lost to the universe. Maybe I don’t get to see or laugh and cry with my best friend, Carol, anymore – but her energy is being used to enrich some other aspect of this world.  It would be selfish of me to want to keep Carol all to myself.

I believe, together, we belong to a giant collective that shapes events, emotions, and reality. Prayer, constructive thoughts, virtual hugs – all are different ways we, as human beings, come together to influence the focus of positive energy. But there is a catch.

Negative energy is a reality and can also be amassed and directed. I don’t get to pick and choose which laws of physics apply to the universe. I am obligated to acknowledge that, while negative energy can be converted to positive, the opposite must also exist. Energy must always balance.

I read an article recently in which the author professed that COVID-19 is God’s way of carrying out his plans for our world. Is COVID-19 our Great Flood? Are the lucky ones going to pile on the giant ark that will save a chosen few? No.  Our world is too global for this virus to be some Biblical purge of evil. Evil must exist just as surely as goodness and love. In the time of this novel Coronavirus, how many of us have checked-in on a friend we have not spoken to in years? How many of us are staying home, washing our hands often, and methodically observing social distancing? We do this not out of some selfish self-preservation; human beings are capable of demonstrating genuine concern for others. By showing compassion for friends and strangers alike during this time of crisis, we enroll in a crash course in the significance of positive energy.

For me, it is near anguish not being able to hold the people I love. I am forced to fight against my natural urge to absorb the pain of others. A close friend began chemo treatments just as COVID-19 started to propagate. I’m immunocompromised, and so, even before the lock downs started, I had to make the tough decision to not be around him. Two weakened immune systems are a recipe for disaster. If I transmitted any kind of illness to him, I would never forgive myself. My friend doesn’t believe in my energy theory, and it’s not something I attempt to force others to adopt. But, do I continue to meditate each day, directing positive energy his way? Do I still light candles and burn intentions and do anything else I can think to maybe, possibly help? Yes. I find comfort and confidence while practicing what I believe can make a positive impact.

However, I am only one person.

As a society, we need to channel positivity together and by any means. Our planet is under siege. It doesn’t matter how we find a way to spread love and humanity. Some find their calling is in prayer or social work or monetary donations. No method of helping is the wrong method.

We must always remember our fundamental physics. Energy is defined as the potential and ability to do work. We all have that potential and ability. It’s up to each of us to decide what form that work will take. 

My advice – push back against the negative energy with every ounce of positivity you can harness. Working together, we might not be able to destroy darkness, but we can cast light upon it.

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