Recently, I was in the midst of a spiritual group discussion when the topic veered into the area of how negative the news can be. One person stated, “when I watch the news and hear about one bad thing after another going on in the world, it’s not hard to connect the dots and think about where the planet may be going.”

Our group ultimately decided that reading or watching the news is okay to a certain point so as to stay informed, but it may not be psychologically healthy to live immersed in the 24/7 news cycle. Too much news and its inherent negativity can lead one to depression, anger and a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.

Most of us hold somewhere in our minds a picture of how great the world can be. This planet and all of its abundant gifts certainly contains the opportunity for we humans to create a glorious experience for all of us. When we look at the news, we cannot help but note the gap between what appears to be the current state of reality and our vision of the highest possibilities for humanity and earth. Our current challenges provide us a roadmap. They hold to our eyes the ways in which our current existence is not serving us and offer us guidance towards the changes needed to create that greater world.

The question then becomes – what kind of world do you want to live in?

Here are just a few of my thoughts – you can probably add to this list with your own ideas.

Each person is valued and treated with dignity and respect.

Far too often the news shows people being mistreated. On certain programs, the pundits and their guests speak unkindly to one another or about others in the public eye. News reports (such as those covering the recent events in Ferguson or the conflicts in the Middle East) show one group of people mistreating another. Are these actions really indicative of the world we want to live in?

Each person has the opportunity for a good education and the chance to earn a good living.

Too many areas of the world deny access to quality education, especially for girls. Even in the United States, our overzealous and misguided efforts to see everything in education as something that can be reduced to a measurement has led to “teaching to the test”, disregarding the importance of things not tested and the dumbing down of many of our schools. Many children have been “left behind” in this “race to the bottom”, leading to a widening gap between the educated and the uneducated. This gap continues into the workforce where we see ever widening inequality in personal income. Are these outcomes really indicative of the world we want to live in?

We are good stewards of this planet, our only home.

Continuously we hear that we have crossed the threshold in terms of global warming. The high levels of CO2 that humans pump into the atmosphere need to be reduced. Yet, very little has been done to address the problem in many believe we are beyond the point of no return in creating massive changes to our ecosystem. Nuclear energy spills have ruined large areas of land for many years into the future. Improper disposal of waste has led to the death of certain rivers and a large floating mass of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. Is this really indicative of how we want to treat the world we want to live in?

I could go on but I think you get the point – our current experience is not in alignment with our idea of the world that we see ourselves, our children, and our children’s children living in. The question then becomes – what are you prepared to do about it? Here are three steps to consider, moving from the very personal level outward in a circle to the greater world.

Step one: shift your personal consciousness towards the world you want to see.

Everything begins in consciousness. Visualize the characteristics of the world you want to live in. Begin affirming in your mind that the world is moving in that direction. Any evidence to the contrary that comes your way from “the news” is seen simply as a lesson we need to learn or an intermediate step on the way to a better world.

Step two: shift your personal actions in your own life towards the world you want to see.

Look at your words and deeds as you interact with others in the outer world. Are they in alignment with your vision of the world you want to see? If not, then begin changing them in that direction where you can. Do not let the negativity of others distract you from holding firm in moving forward towards the world you want to experience.

Step three: implement at least one larger public action towards the world you want to see.

When most of your thoughts (consciousness), words and deeds in your personal sphere of influence are moving you towards the vision of that higher world, it’s time to consider expanding your influence outward from your own life and onto some aspect of the planetary stage. Find the area of change in which you are most passionate, identify others who are working in an area and begin partnering with them to enhance our development towards that positive future.

Each of us is a change agent in our own way. Each of us can make a difference in creating a world that works for everyone. Each of us can take that first step.

I ask you – what kind of world do you want to live in?

Mark Gilbert

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his very latest one Becoming a Spiritual Change Agent. Check it out!

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Photo credit: Arwen Abendstern / Foter / CC BY