For a second now, imagine you could let go of everything that’s ever troubled you in the past and that the only attitude towards what has been and which now serves you is gratitude. Then imagine that there is absolutely nothing you need to worry about for the future and that the only thing your future depends upon is you being present here and now. Now notice the heavy giant load of things that just disappeared from your mind and understand how all that was making you blind to what you now perceive as you are being fully present in this specific moment. Notice how you are still alive and functioning though you are not chewing on the past as if it were non-disposable gum nor planning for the future as if your life depended on it. Notice that you’re still breathing, that your mind is clearing up and that your every little actions are becoming conscious and thus much more effective. Now see if you can discern the story that has conditioned you to escape this precious moment by trying to find false refuge in memories and expectations. Are you not very alive at the moment? What has led you to avoid this so much? And can you feel that whatever it is, it does not resonate with truth as you sit consciously in this now? Can you see that this moment is the source of all life and that this is where we need to be in order to survive harmoniously on this earth? Can you see?
I know we are all very preoccupied with our own lives and all the worries they might seem to or actually do entail. I know all people carry their own burdens and taking on other people’s burdens might seem impossible and undesirable at times. But I have this theory, it’s very simple but it has proved itself to be true for me over and over so I’d like you to at least consider it… it derives from a Swedish saying with just a little extra added to it and it goes like this: Shared joy is double the joy and shared pain is half the pain.
Living temporarily in India causes me to face issues that aren’t even in my repertoire of possible struggles in my own life. I don’t walk around begging for food and neither do I sleep on the pavement right next to a dumpster. The contrast between the comfort of my own life and the hardships of so many others’ is ever present and so apparent only by stepping out of my apartment…
If we could only take a little break from our rushed lives to step back and observe what we usually consider as our problems with a little more perspective and awareness than usual, we would probably notice that the things we classify as our ‘problems’ maybe won’t seem so big after all. And once we can see that our survival doesn’t depend on, say, our choice of outfit for the evening we can more easily acknowledge other people’s issues. Once we do this it gets harder to ignore when other’s are suffering because we have allowed them to be part of our circle of empathy- a circle that is meant to grow constantly in time and space- and we can help to relieve them by letting them share their pain and then rejoice by receiving their shared happiness.
I’m not saying we need to take on all the problems of the world and let them weigh us down but only that we need to allow ourselves to realize what we can actually do for others and also what others can do for us. It is a process of realizing that we are not alone, in fact we cannot be truly alone because non of us really are separate from each other unless we unconsciously or consciously create and uphold those imaginary boundaries in our minds. So actually, when we help another we help our self and when we help our self through them, automatically we are more inclined to help them. It is a cycle of positivity where happiness gets multiplied and suffering gets divided. It might sound like a childish utopian dream but I beg to assert that this way of thinking (and consequently acting) will necessarily have desired outcomes for every one, included whoever we consider ‘our self’.
However cliché it might sound this theory resonates with truth to the fact that no man is an island. We do rely on each other’s happiness. So if we could only reflect upon our lives with greater awareness for a second, and acknowledge through this slight shift of perspective what changes could be done in our not-so-often-questioned daily lives so that we can all cooperate in moving in a direction that everyone holds as something desirable for our selves and all our fellow beings.