Regardless of your current spiritual affiliation, or lack thereof, you are likely to agree that our world is in dire need of change. The world appears to be a mess right now, but it only appears to be so because we are beginning to see what has been there all along. What we are seeing are the remnants of a tired, faulty way of being: a way of looking that sees differences, a way of thinking that keeps us separate from each other, a way of being that divides, separates and withholds love. The truth is that mankind is waking up; and yes, we are beginning to open our eyes, and yes, we are beginning to see clearly, and what we are seeing is unacceptable.
While many may be enjoying the comforts of material abundance, a roof over our head, food on our plate, shoes for our feet, electronic devices with which we communicate with each other, there are far too many of our brothers and sisters who are experiencing the absence of the basic necessities which we take for granted. We point to corrupt politicians, greedy entrepreneurs, Wall Street, Washington or to those in power. Some get angry and lash out, while others, feeling powerless, shrug with palms up-turned. Others claim to be spiritual, therefore above mundane concerns, some even having adopted the belief that the world is just an illusion and one day they will awaken and they will be free. Whether out of anger, resignation or renunciation, to withdraw from involvement in the world is little more than a lame excuse for indifference, a particularly insidious form of hatred because it is the withholding of love.
“Be the change” is a popular expression these days. But, is it just another clever buzz phrase, or are we actually being the change? Someone once said that the people have the government they deserve, a view that is sad, but true, in more ways than we care to acknowledge. However, it is equally true that, in the face of an enlightened mankind, those in power, the politicians and financial decision-makers will have to behave in ways that reflect the will of the people. Ultimately, we have the power to bring change in our world right here, right now, and we can do that by changing how we are with each other.
Years ago—okay decades ago—I used to take the commuter train to get to school, and then later to get to work. Back in the day, passengers sat quietly reading their newspapers, or the latest novel. No one spoke to each other; no one ever spoke to me, probably because I had a Dickens novel on my lap. Everyone “respected” the other’s privacy. I was on the train a few weeks back and couldn’t help but notice that I was the only passenger not glued to a smart phone; I have a stupid phone, which I hardly ever use. When I go out, I like to be present with whomever and whatever I encounter.
I thought of Montreal, my home for over fifty years, and what a wonderful city it is: multicultural, diverse and beautiful. Then I thought, how much greater it would be if we were to do something really bold and daring, if we were to drop the barriers that keep us apart, the barriers that keep us from experiencing the love that is our true nature, the love that we are… What if we were to look up and actually see the person next to us on the bus or the train, or the person ahead of us in line waiting to order food at a restaurant? What if we cared enough to turn to each other and we said, hello, bonjour…