It feels like the world is on fire. People across continents are taking to the streets to demand an end to tyrannical regimes that rob and suppress their people. Dictators are fighting back with military might. Earthquakes are rocking an economic powerhouse. A tsunami has wiped out whole villages. A nuclear plant is on the verge of a nuclear melt down. There is so much to take in that many of us are checking out. With one eye on the newspaper and another on the news channel, I get up and go to work, plan my summer holidays, and continue my day-to-day life as if nothing is changing. But change is in the air. We can all feel it. But it is hard to know what, if anything, we can and should do about it.
I send my checks to good organizations that offer support to people living in countries affected by disasters, wars, and poverty. And I pray. But sometimes I am not even sure what to pray for. When there is so much happening in the world; so many desperate situations; so many situations that seem immutable; so many things that need to change; it can feel overwhelming and hopeless. It can be difficult to know what to pray for and how to respond.
I have taken the position in my life that we must find our issue or corner of the world and focus on it; trust that others will do the same; and trust that collectively we can all make a difference. But I really don’t know if that is the correct approach. It is simply the approach that allows me to continue working in my corner; it helps me to stay focused; it helps me to stay hopeful.
Like many other people, I have also struggled to understand what “working in my corner” looks like. Do I spend time trying to heal myself in the belief that the violence and evil on the material plane reflects the inner darkness within each of us? Or do I spend my time trying to change the material world? Or do I do a bit of each? I don’t know that there is one universal answer. Maybe the answer is different for each of us?
I have spent a lot of time in my life working for social change; advocating for regulations and standards that protect worker health; promoting programs and policies that would improve air quality or retard climate change. I have seen first hand how long it can take to make small changes on the material plane, when the changes needed are monumental.
While I continue to do this work, at some level, it is clear to me that many of the world’s problems cannot be resolved on the material plane. They are simply too big, and action is happening too slowly, to address them in time. At some level, I know, deep in my being, that the changes needed are going to happen at a spiritual level. And that gives me hope. But I still don’t know what that looks like or what that means for me. So I continue to work for change on the material plane, try to make time for meditation in my life, and seek guidance from the Universe.