I once read a quote from the Dalai Lama which I will paraphrase now:  “Humans will never reach enlightenment until everyone else within the world ceases to suffer”.  It is our empathy for others in need that truly makes a difference. Indifference solves nothing. Compassion is a huge component to Buddhism and it is integral to any true path to enlightenment no matter what religion or creed. Yet in a world wrought with war, famine, religious persecution, oppression and climate change; the challenge is not to be compassionate for humanities shortcomings, but to not be overwhelmed by the weight of the worlds suffering. The Dalai Lama’s sentiments ring true. How can a sentient being reach enlightenment when there is so much suffering and discourse that surrounds us? In a world governed by money and large corporations, what is one to do? Further the weight of the world on our compassionate minds is enough to make anyone educated and mindful to ask: “Where are we really headed as a global community?”  Such frustration and disappointment makes people wonder if ignorance really is bliss.

A friend and I were discussing this topic last night. We both differ on political views but we both agreed that not only is the US political system broken, but our food, medical care, education and spirituality is held hostage by big money. My friend asked the question:  “What recourse is there for the frustrated middle class person?” Even voting seems to have little effect in the long run. In the end it is the 1% in control of the world’s money that has power over everything. And this power is not in the best interest of planet Earth. When you look back on history, the one defining factor is revolution:  Normally a violent revolution with bloodshed and loss of innocent life, which if successful, tears the elite power away from a few and temporally gives it back to the people.  It seems we are having a passive revolution now with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

But even violent revolution seems barbaric, transient and fleeting. How do we give the power back to the people and live in harmony and not discourse. How do we feed the starving, stop fighting and celebrate our commonality as a human race instead of fighting over our differences? My answer to my friends question was not what he wanted to hear. I said it will take thousands of years for humans to evolve to that point.  “A thousand years?!!!!”, he yelled. He wanted results in his life time. Truthfully, it may never happen. It seems money will always govern and corrupt. History has painted a pretty clear picture in that regard.

Still there is a solution. Humans need to progress to the next level of evolution no matter the social/political environment. I know in my heart that this is our destiny. This includes being mindful; working to keep our thoughts rooted in the present and not stumbling off in fear and fantasy, past and future. We have a metaphysical connection to the Universe that needs to be realized and celebrated.  The solution is to live by example. Empower those around you not by preaching self-actualization; empower those around you by living by example.  Words are hollow and lose their meaning quickly with inaction and indifference. Words are easy to say but to live by those words is truly powerful. Each of us can make a difference by simply living humbly away from our egos and teaching (through success and experience) our friends and love ones that there is another way. The best way to make a difference is to live though your own positive virtues. Eventually it will catch on. It might take a thousand years, but that is inconsequential.  Live, love and set an example and it is the best anyone can do. Happiness does find those that walk a clear path that is chosen not by big money, ego and materialism, but your heart wish. Listen to your True Nature and the wisdom from within and live by example.

I am interested in your comments on this discussion. The more insight the better!


John C. Bader


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