Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 03/28/2020

Gratitude and COVID


This morning, I woke up late (around 6m) and felt completely off. Most the processing of this pandemic seems to be taking place just below the ordinary level of consciousness so my dreams and the interstitial space between waking and sleep are filled with fear, dread and fantasmagoric visions of hospital beds and ventilators. Suffice it to say that the allergies or cold I’m dealing with along with the underlying sense of anxiety gave for a rough start indeed. Luckily, I happened upon an email from Ajahn Achalo sharing his thoughts on the current situation. I’ve included part that struck me deeply below:

What I’m about to say now might seem a bit extreme. But I’m simply sharing some of my own genuine reflections. We monks train in thinking like this. I have already deeply considered, that if I should catch the virus and then have to experience a painful death. I truly intend to be thinking of the things that happened in this life that I am grateful for, even if I may be coughing and gasping for air. Even if my lungs fill with fluid and consciousness begins to fade. I am determined not to focus upon that. But rather to be grateful for this entire lifetime and it’s opportunities, even while it slips away. I am determined to remember the happiest and most auspicious occasions, and will be determined to continue my practice in the very next life. If I cannot breath, I will pass from this life with the mental recitation of ‘Bud-dho’ resounding in the heart and mind. At least I have this firm resolution and aspiration. This kind of determination and multi life perspective makes the illness seem less scary. I’m simply not giving it the power to overwhelm me. Someone recently asked me if I was scared of the virus and I replied. ‘No, the virus is scared of me!’ Now I know that this is quite a stupid thing to say! But I refuse to live in fear.

I apologize for the length but I feel it’s necessary. The power of gratitude is something I have noticed time and again and my meditation practice and daily life has always seemed to improve when I faithfully practice it. In fact, without it, I seem to be incapable of formally practicing metta at all.

So, with gratitude in mind I was able to light a lamp to chase away the inky darkness of a mind preoccupied with illness and contagion. Further, I intend to take up this practice of appreciation and gratitude both during my daily sit and as outlined by Ajahn Achalo above. I have been truly blessed in this life to meet with the Teachings of the Lord Buddha and just reflecting on how the Dhamma literally saved my life brings incomparable brightness to the heart and mind.

May we be grateful for our blessings and for the strength our curses have allowed us to exercise. May we ever practice the Dhamma until we achieve complete liberation.


  1. Deep thanks for the blog today…! We all are human beings and facing the same fears. But with the tools of The Dhamma have a wider perspective of life and can try to make the best out of any situation. 💜

    To all a peaceful day and night

    • Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.