We already discussed the history of trauma and the trauma of coronavirus or COVID-19, with its resilience, in a nutshell, last month. Today, we will review the trauma in the tsunami disaster and how the people resiled from it, as our aim is to make aware of the trauma and how to get rid of it at any time. And it will also be beneficial to resile from this corona pandemic furthermore.
Really, we all know what the tsunami disaster was like and how the people had been affected by it and how they recovered from it. Here, I would like to reveal it in short through my contribution to the people affected by the tsunami and how they resiled from it. For that, I got an occasion to take part in it for almost one year, in addition to my general psychology consultations.
Generally, in any trauma counseling, whether it was tsunami or coronavirus counseling, they (clients) must spend about minimally seven days to receive a consultation. Because, after seven days, any traumatic individual can understand about the stress situation that had happened to them mentally and physically. Sometimes, they do not need psychological counseling anymore if they can get cured by them-selves. But some victims may feel flashbacks of the trauma and become mentally disturbed. For example, if someone had been victimized in the coronavirus and after quarantine, such people need psychological counseling if they continually feel post-traumatic disorders.
For instance, when we reached some tsunami camps in the Western province for consultation, they talked about their situations without knowing about psychological counseling. An elderly woman said, without a drop of tears in her eyes, pointing to her photos, “Those are my photos; they were in my house. And this is my daughter; this is her husband, and this is their son. They were all taken by the waves of the sea, with our house and my husband, I have only my life. And the other one a little survivor, a girl. She also said a shocking story like this; “My neighbor, friend went to the beach, with me, to wash our face, in the morning. I saw the first sea wave approaching us, and I ran back home. But my friend didn’t come. She was still there, and suddenly, a second wave came, and she disappeared with the wave. Because she was shy to come back naked, as her gown had been taken away by the first wave,” she said, without any shock. When I asked about her mental situation at this moment, she said, “I am not afraid of these waves anymore, and I’m ready to go to school next week.” When they were given to draw any pictures, they drew the sea waves most of the time. Because their lives were attached to the sea waves, they were not so strange to them. Therefore, why do we bother ourselves about the virus if we keep abiding by the rules of coronavirus: using face masks and maintaining the social distance. And we can get rid of this pandemic if we behave according to our moral practices. For this, first of all, an individual must love his own life and care about it. At this point, I remember an article named “BE A FRIEND TO YOURSELF”, from “Buddhism in Translation” by Henry Clarke Warren of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1896. According to the core of the article – it is aimed at those who love themselves. In the article, this view was expressed by The King ‘Pasenadi’ in Ko¯sala, when he spoke to The Blessed One as follows, at Sa¯vatthi, in Je¯tavana mona¯stery, in India. He says, “Reverend Sir, it happened to me, as I was just now in seclusion and plunged in meditation, that consideration presented itself to my mind, as follows: ‘Who are those who live themselves? and who do not love themselves?’ And, Reverend Sir, it occurred to me as follows: ‘All they who do evil with their body, who do evil with their voice, who do evil with their mind, they do not love themselves. And although they should say thus: ‘We love ourselves,’ they do not love themselves. And why do I say so? Because, whatever a man would do to one whom he did not love, that they do to themselves. Therefore, they do not love themselves.”
“But all who do good with their body, voice, and mind, they love them-selves. And although they should say thus: ‘We do not love ourselves,’ nev-ertheless, they do love themselves. Why do I say so? Because, whatever a man would do to one whom he loved, that they do to themselves. Therefore, they love themselves.” This simple logic can be understood by anyone. According to this view, if anyone loves himself, he would act according to the Corona rules. If one abides by Corona’s rules, he protects himself and the whole society. He would achieve trauma resilience also. Similarly, to these sayings of King Pase¯nadi, Mrs. Sheri Luise says,“Whatever you think, whatever you say, comes back to you, in double.” (that’s why we should do metta¯ – compassion) After reading this view of King Pas¯enadi, I recalled a song, sent by the ‘Fearless SOUL’ named: “ “Feeling defenseless” (the inner mind or the Id says to you like this):
“Stuck in your head
I know that feeling too…
even when you can’t
and your world is crumbling
I’ll be here for you…
I believe in you
don’t worry, my dear friend you’re not alone
everyone has been where
you are before
we’re all looking for
our place in the world
so take a little time,
be kind to yourself
and be kind to yourself.”
This means that your beautiful mind
reminds you that you are not alone, do not need to be worried, and trust your mind. Finally, I would like to recollect a very important saying to you, according to a custom at the temples, which monks fulfill as daily routines. That is: “Wattang na pari poorentho¯, na seelang pari poorathi¯ ” mean, ‘If purification is not done, virtue will not be completed.’ For this, get up early in the morning, do meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi gong, or whatever you like, and then get a piece of cloth and a broom, clean doors and windows, clean the yard, temple or room, or house. Do watering the garden: vegetables and flowers. Loneliness would be changed. This can be done, even by male individuals and children too. It is an exercise to get a good mood in the morning. Do everything mindfully. It’s a meditation. Then start cooking your food, (as I do it by myself. And it is very pure and delicious, without touching others’ dirty hands) and eat it alone, but mindfully (mindful eating). Go forward, start the day; it’s a new day, a nice day, and it is your day. If you cannot do it, put in a pinch of salt. Finally, it is very important for anyone, whether they had been victimized or not, by those disasters or coronavirus, to live in a calm and quiet environment, mentally and physically, especially in this pandemic period.
Ven Diyapattugama Revatha Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Siriwardhanaramaya Temple, Kollupitiya.