As a kid, it doesn’t take long to see that conflict and war are a part of civilization. We also see how groups of people with diverse backgrounds can unify when a common enemy appears. With my simple child mind I remember wondering, “What if aliens attacked? Would the world unite against this common enemy?” I’ve watched enough movies to know the answer is obviously yes. So then the follow of question, “Could we just pretend that aliens were attacking and just decide to work together and be happy?” Ahh, the creativity of a child. A universal form of make believe. Wonderful!
By high school I grew out of this fantasy world but I discovered a new idea to latch onto. We can all unite over saving the environment! We worked to fix the ozone depletion together and improved recycling and environmental awareness, but with wars still occurring all over the world, environmental health must not be a scary enough enemy to unite everyone.
It has been about 10 years since I stopped “trying to save the world” but now my mind is circling back. If there is one enemy that could unite the world, it’s the fight against universal suffering. Meditation has taught me that there is universal suffering, and more importantly, that the path to eradicate suffering can only be walked upon when we stop inflicting suffering on others. Society taught me that to be happy I needed to go take what would bring me happiness and fulfillment. The truth is, I can’t be happy if I’m causing others to suffer.
Helping the world to understand and accept this universal truth can cause a lot of tension when this truth collides with different people’s beliefs. From another persons perspective, they might believe they’re living the truth and I’m living a personal belief. I’m not sure how to cross this bridge, but I am starting to believe that the fight against universal suffering can unite the people of this world. Maybe we can discover the path together. Time to meditate.