Students tell me that we live in a selfish world where everyone only cares about themselves. They conclude that if everyone else is only looking out for themselves, the only path forward is to do the same. They know this will add to the decline of society, but they don’t know what to do about it. It’s as if being kind and caring about the community is the stupid play because it will lead to you being taken advantage of. While I understand where they’re coming from, I strongly believe that their conclusions are false, but how do we change this thought pattern when the world they observe appears so selfish?
To start, a life without loving social connections is meaningless. I don’t care how nice your ivory tower is, if you don’t have anyone to share it with, your life will be empty. If you decide to share your nice things at this point to develop relationships, your mentality just shifted from being selfish to being kind. If life satisfaction comes from the relationships we build through kindness, why wouldn’t you start building those relationships now? People know that you can only give what you have, so you can start giving relative to your means today.
Students will agree that they should be nice to their friends and family, but they believe communities are too big for them to change. To that, I say that we need more adult leaders and role models of love and kindness. Communities are simply collections of individual perspectives so I know we can change our society. We simply need a common language and goal to guide us in the right direction. I can’t think of a more simple truth to follow than the truth you find within when you quiet you mind with meditation. When you meditate, the anger, fear, and greed fades so the love can shine through. Love, kindness, and connection are natural to the human spirit if we can get out of our heads and have faith in our journey. Let’s help people remember this one person at a time.