Have you ever asked yourself what can I do to improve the world? It’s an important question. You won’t find the answer in a book, an online course or a Facebook friend. You might get lots of general suggestions, but the answer is very personal to you. I’d like to share a viewpoint with you which might help you answer that question, for you, or at least give you something to think about.
I’d like to suggest that by the mere question itself, we must necessarily put things into a larger perspective. It’s not just your view of ‘what you can do’; it’s also your view of ‘this world.’ Where do you think you are? Have you ever seen this poster of the galaxy, massive amounts of stars, a poster packed with images of radiant stars, some big, some small, some clustered into cloud like masses, some rather isolated….It’s a beautiful poster. And, way over in the lower right corner is this arrow pointing to a very small, almost imperceptible, little dot of light. The caption says, ‘you are here.’ And, that’s just our sun, not our earth which is so small, it can’t be seen.
It may be true that our world, or, rather, our human world, is going downhill. There are lots of problems in every social arena: politics, economics, education, health, and environment. The fabric of society seems to be falling apart. That does not mean humanity, as a whole, will end. Civilizations throughout time have risen and fallen. There is absolutely no doubt ours will fall. It’s not if, it’s when. In many respects, our current world situation is better than it has been. The problems we face are, in part, due largely to the success of our species. It’s an ironic paradox that success has led to so many problems and the possibility of decline. A fall, though, is just part of the transformative process. It is the universal element of destruction which is absolutely necessary for the universal element of creation. Both are necessary for progress. There is this ebb and flow, rise and fall, growth and decay. Historically, there have been very enlightened societies. Where are they now? There have been very corrupt and evil empires, much worse than we know today. Where are they now? I suppose you could frame it in terms of the battle between good and evil. But, that itself is part of the dilemma we deal with. They both depend upon each other for their existence…..Those who are very invested in fighting evil are dependent upon evil for their investment.
The solution is a kind of transcendence; a kind of ‘in this world but not of it’ attitude or view. As if we are each a little candle, shining its light, not really concerned about who benefits or not, because that’s not why the light shines; it shines because that’s its nature. That light never goes out, fully. One candle may go out, as they do, but lights still remain, new ones coming on as others going out. Some very bright, revolutionary, some so faint they are hardly noticed by the masses, but are by individuals here and there with whom that light comes in contact with….
So, the idea is to be a little light, way over in a small dark corner of this one brilliant galaxy. The thing about a little light is that it illuminates a lot in a dark place….Of course, some people will squint, some will turn away, some may get angry, and some will relish it. You have no control over who benefits or not from the light you shine, and, really, it is of no concern. It is like the attitude of unconditional love which is something like, ‘I love you, and it is no concern of yours.’ It is not about return or getting back. It is all about giving. We may think that we are filled when we receive love. But, I suspect that love is one of those qualities that we get filled with not by receiving it, but by giving it.
Fundamentally, essentially, basically, at your core, you are, like ever one else, light. We don’t realize this because of our senses, our thinking, our emotions, and our identification with the material of this world. But, look up at the night sky, see the stars, of which our sun is but one in a billion, and tell me that light is not pervasive, light is not everywhere. I even suggest that when looking into the night sky what we see as stars are representatives of a light field so vast, so brilliant, and so radiant, that we are blinded by it….
We are each little candles, a little manifestation of an all pervasive unified light field, in a dark, blind, world…..So, in answer to this question what can I do to improve the world? Shine your little light, be your best, highest most genuine self; it is helpful. If you are somewhat anxious or frightened about that, consider this quote: ‘who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark, or the adult afraid of the light?’