"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are just about one week into 2015 - a new cycle has begun, and is pregnant with potential. I enjoy the (perceived) clean slate that comes with each new year. It compartmentalizes our existence into meaningful increments, into manageable time frames that help us to cope with the turbulence of life.
However, in 2015, I believe we are way overdue for a deeper emergence of global and collective consciousness, for resolutions that utilize the wisdom of Emerson in the quote above--that move past individual interest and bleed into collective elevation.
We are all living on this planet together. I simply cannot comprehend the disparity that continues to exist among us, and I know I am not alone in this sentiment. Extreme wealth accrues as our brothers and sisters search for water, and die of hunger. According to the United Nations, 21,000 people still die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes and 805 million suffer from it daily. (Progress has been made but those numbers are still astounding).
Any creature with a heart cannot help but question, what is missing here? Collectively? And individually?
I wish there was a clear answer that we could all swallow, an elixir that would simply fix everything - all the greed, the history of oppression and globalization, the screwed interests and policies that poison our planet - and would provide the basic rights of life to every gorgeous being on this planet. (And care for the Earth at the same time!)
I began my adult life immersed in humanitarian and development programs because I simply could not exist in this world without trying to do something (anything) to create something (anything) better than what already existed.
But somewhere along the way I began to realize that while action on the ground is essential, I could no longer separate the external conditions from the inner, spiritual conditions.
Was this an aspect of what was (is) missing? - a deep, felt connection to the heart, to a morality that transcends the dogmatic fences of the religions that divide us and screams, desperately, of interconnectivity.
When did that connection sever? How? Why is that voice now desperately screaming and why must it, in the first place?
Obviously questions that cannot be answered but followed. Followed right back to what is truly essential in our existence here - true service to something that moves beyond individual interest. True service to our collective human story. (News flash: there isn't one author to this story, we are all writing it together). True service to the universal ethics of loving-kindness, justice, and care.
There is a line in a meditation by my Teacher that says, "Imagine people are not only talking about doing something good, but actually acting out that goodness."
Goodness. Simple goodness in action. Seems a foundational practice and yet, it often is not.
So excuse me here, but as I look into the unwritten story of 2015, I cannot only look to resolutions of weight loss, individual happiness, career advancement, and exercise.
Of course, individual goals have their place - but what and where is our collective resolution? Who are we in service to ? And what do we serve?
I do believe that as individual consciousness grows it impacts the world. However, I also believe that individual consciousness cannot grow inside an incubator. Individual consciousness cannot grow without intertwining itself into the world. This world. Right here. Right now. In all of its filth and fancy. It's sweetness and disgust.
In 2015, shall we write a collective resolution of goodness to serve one another? To not forget the larger story that we are all authors of, together?
Because right now, I fear, our story is a becoming a mess of individual interests that have somehow become blind to the millions and millions of sacred areas we overlap.