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”.  There seems to be a lot of suffering in the world these days… Compassion is a huge component to Buddhist philosophy and it can be argued that it is integral to any true path of enlightenment no matter what religion or creed. Yet in a world wrought with a global pandemic, famine, religious persecution, racial inequalities 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? I mean that is the point of life right? To suffer less and achieve higher levels of knowledge, understanding and compassion; thus enlightenment. In many ways we are all one. One race of species living on one pale blue dot in an expansive and often immeasurable Universe. Yet, political parties, religion and other ideologies divide us. In a world governed by money and greed, 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, race relations and spirituality is held hostage by big money. My friend asked the question:  “What recourse is there for the frustrated middle class person?” I am immediately thinking, “Middle class”??? My thoughts are with the terrible racial inequalities that span every social/political thread in life. In that regard, middle class is a gift. You can probably better guess our political views now. My friend continued, “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.” I agree there to a point. 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 and property; 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 all the strife in America. People are not happy.

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 petty 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. For the masses to exhibit higher levels of knowledge, understanding, compassion and live as one species and not these splinters of society?  “A thousand years?!!!!”, he yelled. He wanted results in his life time. Maybe even next year. Truthfully, it may never happen. I am not even sure humanity can make it another 1000 years. It seems money will always govern and corrupt. History has painted a pretty clear picture in that regard. Hey, its not that I do not have faith in humanity; its just that there is 2000+ years of history that says nothing will change. At least we do not live in the Dark Ages – that must have really sucked.

Still there is a solution. Humans do 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; thoughts of the past and future. We have a metaphysical connection to the Universe that needs to be realized and celebrated. This connection binds humanity together.  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 actions. Don’t talk about it, like I am doing now – actually DO IT! Create a ripple; no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. Eventually it will catch on. It has to…. That is what energy does. 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 can find those that walk a mindful path that is chosen not by big money, ego and materialism. Listen to your True Nature and the wisdom from within and live by example. We may all seem different. Different color skin, eyes, religion and ethnicity. But if everyone suffered less and achieved higher levels of knowledge, understanding and compassion? Imagine if 100 people in your Facebook news feed lived by example? Imagine 1000 people. Imagine a million people….

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own journey in Self-Discovery.

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