I have to admit, right now I’m not feeling all that optimistic. There’s a lot of negativity in the news and it seems almost certain we’re going to hell in a hand-basket.
My spiritual teacher says, “There are some people who are pessimistic. They say that the society around us is very bleak, that it has no expression of vitality and that it seems that everyone is in a deep slumber. Pessimists say this because they have never made any detailed study of human history, nor do they care to. Had they done so, they would certainly be optimistic, because if they had looked carefully at the symptoms of pause, they would have realized that significant preparations were being made for the subsequent phase of speed. So under no circumstances should human beings be pessimistic. That is why I am always an incorrigible optimist, because I know that optimism is life.”
Reading that makes me feel a little better. Maybe what we’re going through right now is not all that special or unique. Maybe this is merely history repeating itself, another phase in the human cycle. Also, I’m reminded there are some pretty amazing things happening in the world.
Did you hear about that Dutch teenager who is cleaning up the ocean? Or how about that $16 water pump in India that will provide clean water to a family for a year? Or how in Yemen they’re fighting a water shortage by harvesting fog?
It’s easy to get sucked into doom and gloom, to think the world is a terrible place, that nothing is improving, and nothing will ever change. I know this because I feel that way from time to time, which is why I have to remind myself over and over it’s not true. I just listed three news stories about how human beings are tackling real-world problems.
I’m an optimist not because I have my head in the sand and think nothing bad will ever happen again. I’m an optimist because I see that despite problems like pollution, dirty water, and a drought, people are doing something about it and will continue to do something about it. That there are solutions to all our problems. That no matter what is thrown at us, we will overcome it.
I’m going to quote my spiritual teacher again because I think he sums this up quite nicely. He says, “[H]uman beings should always be optimistic. The cimmerian darkness cannot retard your progress, cannot cover the light of the human heart. The spirit of your heart must move on and on against obstacles. Kick away your obstacles like pebbles from your feet – you are stronger than your obstacles.”
Amen to that. We are stronger than our obstacles. For every problem there is a solution and we will solve it. We are solving it, personally as well as globally. Our progress cannot be retarded and that’s a future I want to live in.
I dream of a world where we maintain our optimism. A world where we remember we are stronger than our obstacles. A world where we act on inspiration to make the world a better place. A world where we realize the future is bright.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.