“It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
The tragedy is that the world is a very broken place, and probably always will be so. The beauty is that we can make it better.
If we allow ourselves to be distracted by cataclysmic events over which we have no control, we tend to let ourselves off the hook in terms of personal behavior. How righteous we feel as we rail against evil, while ignoring those who need us, who are nearby and would benefit from such small efforts.
Today, let’s all focus on making the world better, right where we are. Smile at people. Let cars merge in front of you in traffic. Give a cashier a sincere greeting and say “thank you.” Visit an elderly person who is unable to leave home and feels forgotten. Send a handwritten note to a relative who lives far away, to whom you haven’t written in years. Pretend, just for today, that it might be the last day you spend with your family or friends; how would you treat them?
If such deeds seem too small, tell yourself you will start there and move forward into greater efforts. You will be energized by the joy of showing compassion, mercy and friendship in small ways, thus being readied for larger things. Don’t be overwhelmed by the magnitude of evil and suffering. Become part of the even greater magnitude of all that is good, right and holy.