Detecting new phases in the development of humanity is easy: If a new level of interconnection and interdependence emerges, it’s a sign that we’ve moved into a new phase. COVID-19 is a classic case of emergence of a new phase.

Until now, even in the worst blows that humanity had suffered, such as the two world wars or the Black Death, not all of humanity was involved. The coronavirus brought about the first pandemic that truly merits its name. This is a clear sign that the evolution of reality has entered a new phase. The sooner we accept this and stop expecting life to return to the pre-coronavirus mode, the better it is for all of us.

This supergerm isn’t just another virus. Its impact on the world is forcing us to rise to new levels of connection. Until recently, very few people would as much as think about someone else’s health. Now, all of us are thinking about everyone’s health. Although there is clearly a self-centered motive in this thought, it is nevertheless a level of connection we could not achieve before. Even as the level of contagion in society decreases, we will continue to think about others’ health since we will not want them to become sick and endanger our own health. In this way, the virus has inadvertently connected us and made us considerate of each other.

Once such a level of interconnectedness and interdependence manifests, it does not decline. From now on we will have to calculate all our moves as a society rather than as individuals. Clearly, this is a very difficult shift that our egos shun, but evolution does not cater to our egos. Evolution advances in its path, which has always been toward increasing complexity, increasing interconnectedness and interdependence, and therefore increasing consideration of others. The fact that our egos are uncomfortable with it is irrelevant. This virus or the next, or the one after will impel us to learn to think of others no less than we now think of ourselves. To the extent of our obstinacy, so will be our pain.

Nature’s goal is not to torture us. Its goal is to lead us to greater and much deeper joy than we can even imagine today. It aims to open our eyes to all of reality, to make us omniscient. Yet, nature can do this only if it lifts us above our concentration on ourselves. It has to lift us to heights from which we will be able to see the whole world, not just our own little bodies. To do that, it needs to raise our gaze above our petty selves.

Just as a mother painfully presses her baby out of her womb through a narrow birth-canal, all of humanity is now being pressed out of its old worldview into a new reality, a new world. And just as a baby has no choice but to be born, so will we be born into the new world, as pang by pang our consciousness accepts the reality of our interconnectedness. But once we accept it, we will discover that the world we had lived in before was dark, cramped, and inhibiting.

Through sympathy with others we will learn what true love means, what mutual responsibility is all about, and how each of us is so unique that the whole world will not be complete if we’re not there to give it our share. We will live in a reality of total personal expression and absolute devotion to humanity all at the same time. We will feel satisfied and safe, and we will give that feeling to everyone around us and to all of reality. Life will stop being a nightmare and will start being the dream world that we all feel it should be.

Achieving these rewards depends entirely on our mutual contribution. Only if we all pitch in, the new world will emerge. And until we pull together, we will have to endure the likes of the coronavirus.