I’ve been distraught this week at the state of the world. That seems to be a common theme lately, but this week felt especially intense. I didn’t watch the videos of Alton Sterling or Philando Castile because I am far too sensitive for that, but even hearing details I sunk into a depression. I started feeling helpless and hopeless.
Instead of living in those states, I reached out to my community and asked about service projects. When the world gets like this, I think it’s important to contribute in any way we can as opposed to shaking our heads and saying, “Isn’t that awful?”
It’s easy to do – to feel something and then continue with the status quo. After all, bills need to be paid. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of, at the very end of the day, if I have any energy left over, then I might help other people.
Friends, this is no way to live and does not lead to any sort of fulfillment. My spiritual teacher says the formula for bliss is service minus information. I have been decidedly low on service and high on information, so of course I’m not feeling bliss, besides the fact there are some pretty terrible things going on in the world.
Service often gets relegated to that one weekend of the month volunteering for so-and-so, and that’s fine because it’s something. At this point, something is better than nothing. It’s excruciating for me to sit on my laurels watching what’s going on around me; I can’t do that. I’m not a person who can tolerate crowds so no, I will not be at any protests unless I get a nudge from my higher power, but it’s important for all of us to keep making the world a better place, whether that’s through after-school tutoring or leading a men’s group or planting a community garden. It may not be directly related to the Black Lives Matter movement, but that’s OK, because in my book, any sort of service leads in the direction we all want to go.
I didn’t sleep well last night so this post might be all over the place, but what I’m advocating is: beware of the cushy life. The life where it’s all about being as comfortable as possible. A life that puts us at the center of existence without thinking of others. A world where we may feel something but then carry on as if nothing has changed. I’m asking that our feelings get translated into action, into service, into helping our brothers and sisters in any way we can.
I dream of a world where we serve each other. A world where we take action to make the world a better place instead of lamenting how awful it is. A world where instead of striving for a cushy life, we strive for a blissful one.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.