Three inspiring truths
These are dark times. But even in dark times -- particularly in dark times -- those of us who walk the Path of Hero must take care of ourselves, and remain inspired.
Here are three things to think about which I hope can inspire you:
1. One person can make a difference.
This is an absolute truth. This should never be forgotten.
And I don't just mean people like Einstein or the Buddha.
Every day, each one of makes a difference in someone else's life. Whether it is a family member, a friend, or a business colleague, there are dozens or even hundreds of people who are grateful to have every one of us in their lives.
They may not have ever vocalized to you that they are grateful for you.
But they are.
We should make it a habit to express our gratitude for others, directly to them. We should make it a habit to just say something like, "I am grateful that you are in my life and with me in this stage of my life."
When you stop and think about it, you could probably identify 20 people in your life (everyone from a sibling to a spouse to the hair dresser down the street) who bring joy to you.
If you can do that, then it is definitely the case that there are at least 20 other people who think the same of of you.
Every one of us makes a difference to this Earth, and to other people.
We all light up someone's world.
None of us has to battle empires or slay dragons to be remembered as a good person.
We can just focus on the people already in our lives, and express gratitude there, and the world will change.
Don't take my word for it: try it for yourself.
See how your world changes.
2. Indifference to suffering is the root of all evil.
We live in a time of tremendous technological advancement. Yet it seems that technology has encouraged the worst in all of us.
It seems that even as we are more exposed to the hardships of other people on this planet, we have become numb to it.
I am not suggesting that any one of us should seek to be overwhelmed by suffering.
But there is a big difference in seeing the suffering around us and saying, "Not my problem," versus seeing such suffering, making a note of it, and hoping that the suffering can be salved and ameliorated.
We see immigrants trying to build a better life for themselves, but are unable to empathize with them, or to wonder why being born on different sides of an arbitrary line on a map should condemn someone to certain, terrible hardships.
We see pictures of children in other countries whose lives are ruined by war, but cannot find reason why we permit our governments to continue with imperial, criminal policies in supporting and sustaining those wars.
The world would change overnight if we just took note of the suffering of so many, and noted that we are connected to that suffering.
And if you are observing suffering, and find some type of joy in the pain of others -- just note that this pleasure you derive is coming from a place of ignorance. It is an ignorant thing to seek pleasure from the pain of others. It is ignorant, because all consciousness is connected. When you seek to harm others, the harm inevitably reaches back to you.
3. Remember the beauty in this world.
There is pain, yes, but there is also deep, very deep beauty, everywhere on planet Earth.
There is beauty in the art museum, in the park, in the forest outside our town where we might go hiking.
There is beauty in a summer's breeze, in a glass of water on a hot day, in lying down on a couch.
There is beauty in the eyes of someone you love, in the bark of your dog, in the sound of a child opening the door, home from school.
There is beauty in Beethoven, in The Aeneid, in Velasquez.
There is beauty in the ancient tree, the owl, the whale, and the moon.
This world stresses us out. Sometimes, it deprives us of our sanity, and our capacity to feel joy. But that is all temporary.
The pain is temporary.
The beauty lingers. It is always there, even if it is smothered by suffering.
Don't forget the beauty. Even when you are tired, your eyes filled with tears of exhaustion, or brimming with pain: find comfort in those things that you know can bring joy to you. Beauty will sing to your soul in the way that nothing else can.
Find those things that are beautiful to you, and remember them, even in dark times.