How everyday people can make a difference
Every person can make a difference. Every person's contribution to the crises of the day is not only meaningful, it is essential.
Every person today has the capacity and the potential to explore a unique spiritual path in this lifetime.
This is a path that is dedicated to finding and cultivating a Life's Work.
A "Life's Work" is the positive and unique legacy that any person can leave behind after they are gone.
A Life's Work consists of those things that a person wants to accomplish and leave behind, and to feel happy about having done, as they lay on their death-bed, contemplating their journey to the next undiscovered country.
A Life's Work consists of those manifested projects and ideals that result from personal talents and practical efforts to better oneself and the planet.
Many religious traditions speak of a Life's Work, probably in a way that made sense to the religion's originating peoples. Hinduism speaks of one's dharma, or worldly duties and responsibilities that one is supposed to engage in as a result of one's caste. The dharma of someone in a ruling caste is to rule well. The dharma of a teacher is to teach good things. Similarly, Protestantism speaks of one's "calling," or purpose, that one is supposed to do in this lifetime, which will bring a person closer to God.
I don't think it particularly matters what it is you call it, or what the religious basis for it is. For me, writing these words in an era of deep political, environmental, social and spiritual crises, I am more interested in describing a philosophy that is moored in a genuine sense of spiritualness and that is also relevant to the times.
The fact of the matter is that many of our cultural traditions (whether they are political, environmental, social or spiritual) are struggling to understand the problems of the day. How can they offer good solutions if they don't even understand the problems?
Our governments are almost universally corrupt, our leaders work for themselves and not for the people, our traditions about the rule of law are in grave danger, our environment is in shambles, refugee crises threaten the stability of dozens of nations, and climate change threatens to turn the Earth into a planet mostly inhospitable to human life (under even the most standard of long-term predictions). This is a crisis the human species has never before encountered.
I believe it is possible to address these crises. I believe it is possible for everyday people to respond to these crises in a way that is both meaningful and positive. And I think it is as simple as every person asking what it is they are really here to do at this time, and what it is they want to leave behind after they are gone -- to discover their Life's Work. And then, I think it is up to every person, having discovered what this is, to actually go forth and engage and create with their Life's Work.
In this way, the deepest crisis to ever confront the human species becomes the incubator for tremendous spiritual growth amongst humanity, and a potential crucible for the development of a human species that is far more enlightened and capable that any before in history.
It is only by being tested, that someone can discover their power.
And it is only through confronting fear that a person can discover courage and strength.
I believe all these things are possible.