What would Rumi do during the pandemic? Maybe this is no dichotomy thinking here. Maybe he would pray, wear a mask, stand with people who are suffering, and more.
Maybe Western individualism vs identifying with a collective is also a false dichotomy. After all the American constitution started with ‘we, the people’ and it stated ‘we, the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice.’ Justice was never individual, but it is about society.
Justice and love are not two unrelated ideas. “it’s helpful to think of this love as an oceanic wave that pours through you, and when it pours out of your heart, out into the public square, we recognize it as justice.” Needless to say, my mind was blown after hearing this quote. Love flows from God/Source to us into the public square, that is justice. Love here also includes speaking up and willing to criticize when you see something that is injust.
How do we break open our hearts instead of just breaking our hearts? Maybe seeing beyond our finite ego would help. Recognizing we are one life and realizing our suffering are shared. That makes us feel less alone.
How do we enjoy more of our solitude instead of running away from alone time? In Sufism, there is khalwa and jalwa: retreating into yourself and going back out into society. “You would go inside to be alone with the One, and then you would come back and bring the fruits of that into society.” You look inward to see if your soul needs to be recharged. It does not matter what activity charges your soul as long as you return to it again and again until it becomes a practice. Retreating is not an end goal in itself. Then you go out into the world to share the fruits with everyone else.
How do we understand death? Maybe we are all water from the same ocean. The underlying existence never changes, but water can change into different forms. Our loved ones who passed away might become a mist that surrounds us at all times.