When we drafted the iRest mission statement, we vowed “to help people resolve their pain and suffering" so that they might "experience deep healing and peace”. We never imagined doing so amid a life-threatening pandemic. Yet here we are.
In early December 2019, a mysterious pneumonia-like illness began to affect the people of Wuhan, China. By mid-January, 571 residents had been infected with COVID-19 in cities across the country, and its hospitals had become overwhelmed with patients experiencing symptoms. To date, more than 189,000 people have been diagnosed worldwide, with nearly half those cases occurring in China and an expanding epicenter in Europe. On March 11th, the World Health Organization formally declared a global pandemic.
During this crisis, iRest Institute founder Richard Miller was contacted by Amy Liu of JaiXing ZhiTong Healthcare Management Co., Ltd. in conjunction with Fight PTSD Charity Program in Shanghai. Liu was deeply concerned for the healthcare workers of Wuhan, who had been working demanding five-day shifts with no breaks, then stopping to self-quarantine for two weeks before working another grueling five-day shift. The physical and emotional toll of the pandemic on doctors, nurses, technicians, aides, and others has included sleeplessness, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
To support these dedicated professionals, Miller needed a skilled translator who also understood the principles of iRest. He reached out to iRest Certified Teacher Jing Qian, with whom he had previously traveled, translated, and co-taught throughout China in 2017. Working with Qian and another former travel companion, Dr. Xihua Lu, Miller selected a series of iRest meditations and had them translated into Chinese.
Today, the meditations are being distributed online (free of charge) to individual workers and healthcare agencies throughout China, as well as to residents facing COVID-19 outbreaks and the resulting trauma.
Says Miller, “I am deeply moved and blessed to be partnering together with Amy Liu, Jing Qian and Dr. Lu to bring the iRest Program into China. It is wonderful that these teachings are independent of culture and can serve people wherever they are around the world.”
One healthcare worker who had experienced the meditations wrote:
These days of the virus, I haven't left my house much at all. I find I am sitting too much at my desk. [I'm] not watching that much TV or internet, but reading, chatting, and tutoring, with too much micro focusing. I've felt a lot of bodily tension, which I think others are as well. This meditation practice helped to brush the tension away. ...It's better than massage, which I love. I just finished the practice, "Body Sensing” with Richard Miller. I can't believe how relaxed I felt while I was listening to it. It was really an amazing treat for my body and my mind.
Reflecting on this outreach and its effects, Miller writes, “It is wonderful to hear the reports from people who are listening to the recordings in their native language, and how it is helping them navigate their stress and helping them experience resilience during this time of need. The iRest teachings are designed to help us recognize and embody our innate unbreakable well-being, whatever our circumstance.”