How do you see yourself acting in the world? How do you want to act?
Do you approach others with kindness? Dignity? Respect? Do you attempt to help others and accept help when offered? Do you see the world as your friend? Do you attempt to make the world a better place for all?
Or, on the other hand…..do you approach others with suspicion? Anger? Indifference? Do you ignore others when they need help? Are you offended when others try to help you? Do you see the world as some great unknown “other” that you simply don’t know? Or, worse as your enemy? Do you attempt to make the world a better place for yourself even if at the expense of others?
Which is it? Do you approach the world with love and cooperation or with fear and a sense of being in competition?
When you and I….and others….get together, how do you see us acting in the world? How do you want us to act? With love or fear? As friends or enemies?
The truth is that the world we create is made up of our personal individual choices. If you want us to create a world of love and kindness, where we treat each other as friends, then it starts with each of us in our own individual worlds….our personal “sphere of influence”….to treat others with love and kindness and as friends.
My good friend, Gregory Toole, recently wrote a blog on his website Somseva.org encouraging us to “please do talk to strangers“. There he talks about his experience walking around the bay area after an earthquake and how the emergency situation brought everyone together. I recall a similar experience when I was in Washington DC on 9-11 (as I wrote about here on this same anniversary back in 2010). Many tell of how New York came together on that same date as a place where for a long time afterward people exhibited care and concern for one another over their prior tendency towards fear or indifference.
Although it’s good that we come together in the wake of such tragedies, it’s sad that it takes such events to open our hearts to one another. Gregory gives us the good advice to “really see your fellow travelers on the planet, to remember our interconnectedness, and perhaps to actually talk to a stranger.” I know when strangers open to me or when I open to them, it makes the world a little bit warmer and kinder. Wouldn’t that be a world that you would want to live in?
The Coffee Party USA is promoting a series of “Coffee Party Talks” for a number of months……you bring together folks for a conversation, they give you some materials to help, including discussion questions created by the folks at Living Room Conversations….the topic for this month (September 2016) is “The America We Want to Be”. One set of the questions is as follows: “How do you see the U.S. acting in the world? How do you want the U.S to act?”
Their questions, of course, are referencing our country, the “U.S.”…the United States…..but that “us” is no different….Yes, we can answer their question with political positions on a number of issues…..how our country should respond with its military might, how it should be in regards to immigration, how we should handle race relations issues, and so on……but the question I would ask you to consider in regards to any of your political positions you believe the United States should take on any number of issues is this: Does such a position bring more love and kindness to the world or more fear and mistreatment of one another?
The bottom line is that the political positions we take on the issues of the day are just one subset of the larger questions we must ask ourselves about the world we want to live in.
How do you see us (or the U.S.) acting in the world? What kind of world do you want to create? All of our thoughts, choices and actions are creating that world each day. What are you choosing?