One does not have to look too far to see life and its obvious challenges. From the every day struggles to manage time and finances to the more serious issues of identity, rights and finding one’s niche in the world. These are surely and definitely pushing all of us over the precipice. A scenario that is quite common in modern societies all across the world is the ravages of poverty, deprivation and inequality. While some of us might want to continue to look at it from the outside, many can and are making that vital , necessary and impactful difference in the lives of many to create not only a better world but also earn for themselves the deepest and the most lasting form of satisfaction.
The View From The Outside:
Flipping through the newspaper every morning brings many events and real life stories into our consciousness. Switch on the TV and the images fill up your mind. The impact lasts for a few minutes, even a few hours . You may sympathize but very few have the courage to empathize . The view from the outside externalizes the problems one learns of. What it does to a positive level is to keep you at peace with the trouble brewing all around you . But, what it also does is to negate the positive energies that are common to all humans-the energy called care, compassion and sacrifice. Without drawing any Biblical parallels , every community and every culture has umpteen numbers of stories of those who brought about a great change that remolded societies and communities and created new models of success. Such pioneers and stalwarts became the heroes of their generation. they have stopped being our role models as we prance around ineffectual and temporary pleasures.
What is an amazing law of nature is the presence of positive and the negative within us. What however seems to burden our minds is the strength of doubts. It’s in building the values and the vision wherein lies the true development of a positive and real personality. There has to be certain investment in knowing that it is the world and the people around us who give us our true being ,our true reflection of success and failure. This obviates the fact that the more we help those around us it would actually translate into our own success. So drastically and sadly egocentric is the modern philosophy of self that many of us seem to have forgotten our role in community , neighborhood and society at large.
Cultivating The spirit Of Generosity
Shiv Khera very rightly says that be like a gardener who plants flowers to last a season a tree to last for years and if he has vision to look at eternity , he cultivates people. It’s in the belief of our immense ability to touch the lives of people to make an indelible impression that drives people to make a difference in the lives of others.
The Often asked question really is ‘what can I gain?’ . Sadly this is the reality that drives most. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them.What drives our lives today is greed, fear or pressure. Not the most positive of energies. The concept of being good has remained just a semantic nomenclature. Those who do not succumb to greed or unethical ways usually call themselves good. But when asked what makes them good, very few answers are convincing . The old value systems that spoke of help thy neighbour seem to have fallen on the wayside. It is time to recognize the goodness that is inherent to human nature , not as an ‘evil eye’ that wards of the demons of greed or lust, but the spiritual form of goodness that believes in gaining through giving, happiness through spreading joy and sees success through the victory of others around .
The Bigger Self:
Community makes us who we are and most of us are a clear reflection of the society and the community we belong to . Separating the two by alienating oneself from it can prove to be not only impossible but detrimental . From the school to the teachers in them, from the local gas station to the farms that supply us our necessities , all are umbilical part of our very existence. It is this that has led all social science teachers to make children in schools understand every element and participatory bodies wihtin it . Even if one of the links in a community is broken, it leads to the imminent collapse and subsequent effect on each of its members. To be in denial about our greater role in the lives of others is limiting not only our gigantic energy reserves but also compromising with our inherent nature.
Ways to Make That Special Difference:
Charles Schulz said, ” Our lives are like a bicycle with a number of gears but some of us never learn to use them. So very true. Understanding our potential and latent abilities to touch the lives of people is driven by a great deal of fear- a fear to commit. We fear this commitment to help mothers thinking it to be a confinement . What it does magically is to uplift you to discover and liberate yourself to newer heights of self esteem that one never knew to possess.
So begin by using these simple ideas:
*Drop all doubts of being alone as the Nobel laureate Tagore said ,” If the path seems lonely and dark, light the flame of goodness and find your way”.You could be surprised by the numbers of people who will join in your venture. It is after all an issue of cultivating leadership.
* Even though your life may be surrounded by huge failures and insurmountable difficulties, you could still reach out to help others . In fact this phenomenon of bravado and courage has been retold by those who have faced serious losses and sorrow to emerge stronger and becoming the salve for those in distress.
* Prepare to be surprised by not only your potential but also some sacrifices you may have to make along the way.
*Keep your values and principles as your guides and let not the adversity that are momentary bear you down. Finding happiness in the sublime state of failure and newer challenges is what keeps the world and its amazing change makers work on tirelessly . Join this group not to gain but to give your values its place in the sun.
* No effort can be called small. What emanates from the goodness of your heart, that which has no selfish motive is as good a deed as a revolutionary thought . It’s a personal revolution with immense potential to change your life as much as to make a difference in the world around you.
Be for something rather than being against something all the time. This is the root of positivism. One draws in more support and gets in more people on board for a cause. From hugging a tree to prove your commitment to the green cover to initiating a debate in a small group to begin a thinking process, from running a marathon or even handing out water to the athletes to sitting in protest outside the state building what ever your calling , never should one doubt your larger role in the world around you. It only takes a spark to light a fire , a germ to set an idea rolling through the subconscious and in a world trying hard to elevate itself from the drudgery of the ‘self’ and the ravages of consumerism , it can be your small but significant contribution to change.