We cannot change the world as we cannot reach or get through to others. And, these others can be and often are quite obstinate in their ways. Do people truly want to change, can they really change their ways? It is terribly depressing when we think of all the suffering, needless even preventable suffering, and injustices that occur day after day in our world.
In these terrible times, even though we need to stay engaged and continue fighting the good fight out of love, we have to face that the world will remain ugly and violent despite our best efforts to make it less so. We must be conscious of the dangers of giving into despair.
We recall a brief anecdote we read of some years back that is apropos here. An old man was strolling along the seashore that was littered with a multitude of recently out of the water starfish. At intervals, he would stop and bend down, pick up an individual starfish and cast it out into the sea. A passerby asked him why he bothered to do this as it was clearly not possible to save all the individual starfish. “What does it matter?” was the query. The old man calmly and peaceably replied “It matters to this one.” as he threw another individual starfish out into the water.
The lesson might be that we ought not give in to despair of the macro status of the world such that we cease working at the micro level to help the individuals that we can reach. We can make a difference, a positive, constructive difference in the lives of individuals around us. We ought to stay in the fight even though the macro victory is distant, perhaps beyond our lifetimes.
We can find some measure of inner peace by doing the right things each day and not acquiescing to apathy or callous indifference. We can at least know that we made the effort (and cared enough) to help rather than staying on the sidelines. Let us be on guard against becoming alienated from this sorrow filled world.
We can withdraw from the many problems of the world each day during our inner spiritual work (including meditation, prayer, study, worship, etc.). But, we ought to stay engaged and actively involved in trying to help others and in our small way make the world a better, more loving place. Let us teach our children to be loving, caring individuals. More loving, caring individuals can create a synergy, or ripple effect that can have positive effects beyond our local communities.
Our feature image is a photograph we took six months ago when we visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
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