You open your Facebook Feed. Your Instagram. Your Twitter, or any news media of personal preference. It doesn’t take very long to see the atrocities of the world in which you live. Within a few milliseconds you are bombarded with a jumble of very strong thoughts and opinions about everything under the sun. What is going on in our country? What is going on in the world? How can human beings be so terrible to each other? The weight of this insurmountable suffering can never be undone, or so it seems. You will go on to see many headlines about how everything is going to hell and we are powerless to stop it. I have always entertained a fantasy that there could be an antidote to cure all world suffering. I envisioned it healing all differences and pain. Restoring my faith in humanity. Then it dawned on me. I have news for you ladies and gentleman: There is an antidote. A cure that is far too under utilized. It is The Power of Community.
We are falling short. Very very short. Dare I say we are a huge part of the problem. That’s right. I’m calling all of us out on our own nonsense. People seem to believe that having a personal opinion is enough to make the world go round. But here is some harsh truth: opinions are illusive. They are nothing but paintings in the hypothetical world of your own mind. Don’t get me wrong. There is no shame in knowing what you believe in and why you stand for it. Having visionary ideals and your own unique moral compass is a necessary part of the process, but so many of us are stopping at just that. What is being done with these convictions? These fleeting ideologies? Absolutely nothing. When are we going to realize that this obsession of being filled with abstract opinions is leaving us empty handed with nothing to offer the tangible world we actually live in?
We are drowning in a sea of our own selfish egos and superior viewpoints, while failing to see the faces filled with anguish on our own streets.
Believe me I get it. Seeing babies starving in Africa or hearing about children sold into sex slavery in the Middle East can be quite unsettling. Not only because these adversities are horrifying, but also because they seem be in worlds so far out of your own reach to actually do something about it. In the midst of all the hatred, violence and racial divide, it is time for us all to dig deep and go back to the basics. What are the basics you may ask? The core of the human spirit. The essence of our emotions and experiences. They are universal. We will forever be connected by the beauty of the human condition. There lies within us an infinite capacity to unify with the entire human race. We feel the heat of the same rising sun. Walk upon the same damp earth. Seek solace from the same mysterious moon. Your own perception is unique, but you will never be alone in any experience. There will always be a fellow human treading the same path. Even if your eyes never meet, they are with you on the same earthly plane. Feeling the same things. Learning the same universal truths.
The world will only change if we grasp this sacred concept: Our humanity transcends our differences
If we think pragmatically here, one single human is not going to change the entire world. One life span isn't long enough. One pair of hands cannot reach; much less cure the adversity of billions. I have a theory. Because of this overwhelming suffering, so many of us are frozen in confusion. We are unsure of where to begin pursuing this vast cause for the greater good. The humanitarian Arthur Ashe once said: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can"" I love the simplistic brilliance of this truth. Think of it this way: If a mere twenty five percent of the human population went full force on trying to better their own communities, the world would change drastically for the better. Can you imagine the incredible domino effect that would take place?
*Start where you are. Find the closest window and look outside. Better yet, look around and see the people who surround you. That is where to begin. You change the world by starting where you are. With your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and yes, even strangers in passing. Relationships are the foundation our world is built upon. The more love and kindness we pour out to the people around us, the more momentum we create for an overall positive change.
*Use what you have. If you're the average person working a nine to five, providing for a family or pursuing an education, there isn't a lot of time or funds to save starving children in Africa or hit up a sting operation saving children from slavery in the Middle East. Don’t let this dishearten you. There is so much to be done right where you are. You alone have access to this special part of the world that only you can save. Believe me, there is plenty of need and worthy causes waiting right outside the front door. Use your unique talent, insight and perspective to discover the best place to start impacting your community. You have the power to change the world with unique gifts that only you can give. Using what you have doesn’t always involve money or gifts. Even a kind word or gesture to a stranger is priceless. Never underestimate the power of moral support and genuine charity. You can always use what you have. It might not seem like very much in the grand scheme of things, but it could very well inspire bigger movements or even save some one’s life.
*Do what you can. Find a cause you are truly passionate about and get involved with making movements in the world of your own community. Having a purpose will not only enrich your life, it will literally play a part in shifting the reality of others. Follow your passion and always do what you can for the convictions that light your soul on fire. Cultivate your influence. Put your ideals and inspiration to use on projects that utilize your strengths. Having true fulfillment in doing what you can will radiate so much hope and light to those who need it the most. This is the most effective way for you to play the crucial role in ending our world problems.
The hatred and division that fills our world can seem endless at times. Reality is indeed a place filled with anguish. The damage we have afflicted upon each other can seem insurmountable; but we must never forget there always has been and always will be a solution. One by one, we can solve world suffering by changing the worlds of our communities. The Power of Community lies within all of us. This is the antidote: The solution to cure the ailments of our humanity.