How to Deal with the World
In my rearview, I noticed an aggressive driver. They were weaving in and out of the freeway lanes, cutting off other cars and endangering all. In the short moment, when they were right in front of me, their bumper sticker proudly proclaimed that “War Is Not the Answer.” But cutting off others and disregarding safety was?!? I began to laugh. It is easy to fight for peace in foreign lands. It is not so easy to bring peace to our own life.
For years I was like that driver. I was for peace and justice but held grudges against colleagues. I avoided chemicals and was passionate about clean environment but could not keep my thoughts clear of anger and resentment. I felt strongly against social prejudices but could not stop judging the parents in my children’s school.
Until one day I became tired of the anger, the judgment and fear, of the endless trying to be perfect in a world that was never meant to be perfect. Despite all my efforts, I was not making any difference in the world. I was reminded of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in Physics that stipulates that chaos always increases. You may tidy up your corner of the universe, but that is always at the expense of creating more chaos that far surpasses your cleaning. Fixing things, putting things in order, and striving for perfection was a losing proposition. So, what is one to do with such a world?
The answer did not emerge until I accepted that the world is not out there, but on the inside. That was where I had to make the changes – to clean up my thoughts, to make peace with myself, to embrace kindness and inclusivity. This was not a beautiful metaphor but the implacable pragmatic truth.
Now, this idea is nothing new. In fact, you can argue that it is as old as the world. Talk to a Vedantist or a Buddhist, and they will happily point out that it is all about the Mind. In the West, the Stoics have been living and preaching this philosophy since the days of Marcus Aurelius and his teachers. And just like that, the life and work of Marcus popped up into my awareness. I became intensely interested in his life, his books, and his legacy. I read about his childhood, his ruling years as the emperor of Rome, about his family all the difficulties he had to live through.
What Spirit says
Do not be sad about Marcus’s life. He did what he came here to do. Rejoice instead! He found peace and let go of the rest. That is all one needs to do. The rest was a distraction – his son, his brother, and even his teachers. They were there for him – to learn and let free of the chains he had put on and carried for long. There was peace in his eyes and contentment in his heart. And the shining example for those who would follow behind.
See what he did. Take heart. You can find many answers in his way of life. He carried the burden of quarter of the world. What is yours compared to his? Do not despair, but take up cheer, and do your job to the best you can.
What to do
Do you want to continue the dreaming, or do you wish to wake up? Make up your mind!
The world is an external picture of your internal state. Change the inner cause and the effects disappear. This is the only way to deal with what you see with your human eyes. Remember that, and no fear will ever intrude on your peace. Stop letting external factors frighten you. They are not your reality. You make your reality and what you make is with your Father in Heaven. The rest is nothing.
What do you think? Does this resonate? Relate to your experience? Your comments and feedback are welcome! You can email me directly via the Contact Page.