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Can You Really Make a Difference

I often hear people ask, myself included, “Can one person really make a difference in this messed up world?” They say: “There are so many issues and problems… What can I do that will make any difference at all?” And “What can one person do?”

There are the waves and there is the wind, seen and unseen forces.  Everyone has these same elements in their lives, the seen and unseen, karma and free will.  ~Kuan Yin

There are the waves and there is the wind, seen and unseen forces. Everyone has these same elements in their lives, the seen and unseen, karma and free will. ~Kuan Yin

At many points in my life I have pondered these very questions. Most times I felt hopeless against the sea of problems our society faces. Hunger, war, poverty, abuses etc. This hopelessness has has lead me to say many times: “There is nothing I can do.” So I try to enjoy life as best as I can until our society comes to a screeching halt, and just pray it doesn’t happen in my lifetime. This works for a little while, but since I’m not really a quitter, more of a giant procrastinator, I always find myself thinking: “there must be something I can do!!”

I guess I could give up my life and move to a poverty stricken portion of the globe. I could help nurture and feed people in need. I could sell all my worldly possessions and donate the money to the poor. I could go down to Washington DC or NYC and hold up signs. I could put on a mask and march on any number of corporations or conglomerates responsible for human suffering. The issue with any of these choices is obvious. I would have to give up my cushy first world life while leaving all of my friends and family behind. “Ok so what’s the big deal?” you ask. Well maybe these people depend on me for friendship, laughs and company. So I may fill a void somewhere in the world but create another by leaving. (I am not in anyway knocking people who do this by the way. Wish there was more people in the world who did those things!)

After pondering this on and off for years I finally had a breakthrough! An “eureka” moment. I realized that we are all connected, the whole world! I have heard people say it, but dismissed it as hippie talk. Now I finally understand what people meant. By gaining this perspective I realized that for me (everyone is different) running out to different parts of the world to try to help out would be like plugging holes in another part of a sinking ship while water is getting in right next to me. We are all in the same boat, the whole world, so you can actually help by plugging holes all around you.

Back to my realization. It has to do with the concept of Karma. Karma is often misunderstood in our society. People say: “Don’t do bad things because it will come back and something bad will happen to you.” This is partly true but not the whole story. My realization came to me while writing comedy of all things. I was writing about my time in the Marines Corps. I used to keep my hair a little long for a marine, just within regulations, and my superiors really gave me a hard time. The USMC is all about conformity. At the time I wasn’t very empathetic, but now looking back years later I realize the reason they were giving me a hard time. It’s not because they were “Dicks with no lives” as my 20 year old self might suggest, but it’s because they themselves had superiors. I’m sure I made my superiors look bad in the eyes of there bosses. This made me wonder if they had ever pissed off their superiors when they were younger, and now they were experiencing the negative feelings they themselves had caused someone else to feel years earlier. Classic Karma. But then I went deeper. I thought of the vicious cycle continuing throughout the years. I envisioned it as waves in a the ocean. I really do not know the source of the first waves. however I could see the effects of the current waves thrashing about just as a stormy sea effects a ship. And the ships movement in turn creating more waves.

I then applied this analogy to the whole world and the whole of human existence. Imagining we are all in one big ocean. There are waves thrashing about right now that we are all effected by. Not many people really know or care about the true source of these waves. Most only focus on the current wave hitting them or perhaps what caused this wave in the first place. Nothing beyond that is very important to them.

Looking at it in this manner I realized there is something I can do!! I can try my hardest to be non reactive to the negative energy I encounter. I broke down it down like this: think of waves in the ocean as negativity and calm flat ocean as positivity. When you have a negative experience try not to let it effect you to the point where you release more negativity of your own. This would only create more waves. If instead you are non reactive you can absorb these waves and create calm flat ocean. By taking this simple step you can undo years of negative energy in an instant. Here is an example. Think of getting cut off on traffic. You may get angry and yell at the person, speed up and cut them off. Lets rewind here a little bit. Why did this person cut you off in the first place? Maybe they had a fight with their spouse? Why did they fight with their spouse? Maybe their spouse had a rough day at work? Why did they have a rough day at work? Maybe their boss was mean or condescending to them. Who knows how far back you can trace this wave of negativity? Hours? Days? Months? Years even?

When this wave comes across your path in the form of being cut off in traffic. You can actually stop this wave. If you are non reactive and just smile(I’m not saying it’s easy, takes a lot of practice) you can actually take that wave of negativity off this earth for good! This may not seem like a lot, just one wave in a turbulent sea full of them, but there is no telling where that wave was headed. Who knows what bad thing you may have prevented.

This may also help eliminate the other mis-interpretation of karma in our society. Which is people doing good things only because they want good things to happen to them. Yes, I will take it, but it’s selfish. Sometimes bad things will still continue to happen to these people and eventually they may give up. They are in it for the wrong reason, and are only trying to help themselves. When you view at it as helping “all of humanity as a whole” you may relieve some of the pressure of self gratification.

In conclusion, YES, you can make a difference in our world. Try to be conscious of every decision you make. Think: “How will this decision effect people around me?” Be non reactive to negativity and watch it dissipate around you. Try to be more empathetic and understand why people are spewing out negative waves. You can make a game of it: See how many waves you can dissipate before you actually let one effect you. Don’t get discouraged… remember even Jesus (if he existed)lost his temper. Whether you believe in him or not I believe the story of Jesus loosing his temper was Inserted (or included) in the bible to remind us that we are all human and we make mistakes. We must learn to move on and hone our craft of dissipation.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in Karma, Uncategorized

 

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When Does Help Become Too Much Help?

It’s no secret that most everything I was ever told growing up was a lie (By society not my parents). For example: Salt is bad for you, FALSE. Marijuana kills brain cells, FALSE. Sticking our nose into other countries business and starting or supporting wars is vital to the American way of life…. Hmmmmm this one isn’t so easy to make a judgement on. There are no studies or experiments that could be done in a lab to prove or disprove this. Maybe I can examine a few recent wars to see if I can come up with a good answer.

Take the Vietnam War for example. Itvietnamwar2 was touted as being necessary to fight the spread of communism. We had to help those poor Vietnamese people so they wouldn’t fall under Communist rule. Was it really up to the US what happened over there, or up to the people of Vietnam? One major flaw of this countries government is they act like the “Boss” of the world. We see countries and their conflicts and we automatically assume we know what is best for them. Maybe as a “free” society we should try to help other peoples in their fight for freedom, but do we go too far?

Let’s examine this question by comparing these wars with our own revolution. This is a great example because we were struggling for our freedom while being ruled by a monarch in another country. We felt we could do a better job ourselves. We also reached out to other countries for aid, and one that responded was France. They sent troops, ships and money which proved invaluable and helped us win the war.

Some argued the French could have done more to help us. These arguments were very prevalent during the war as well . Our country wanted more troops, ships and aid from the French. It’s obvious now that we didn’t need anymore, and we made good with what we received.

Now imagine for a moment the french did send more help. Say we convinced the nation of France that this war was imperative to stopping the spread of the British Empire and they should make it there number one goal to drive the British out of the American colonies. If we somehow accomplished this and the French sent the majority of their army and naval fleet to the colonies many would see this as a good thing. They would have a huge force and really give the British a pounding. However, the French armies would be encamped all over the new world. This wouldn’t be the intended purpose, but when the war was over the US would have a huge french army “occupying” American soil.  Now let’s say the French realize their huge investment in this new world and want to protect it. After all they just spent countless lives of troops, ships, money etc ensuring our freedom from the Brits. They may feel they would have to leave troops here to protect us from a follow up British invasion or from another country who may swoop in and try to gain control over our new nation. If this were to happened the French would have wasted all those lives and resources for nothing. How could anyone blame them for wanting to protect their investment.

Think about this for a moment. There would be a standing french army on American soil, here to “protect us” from an unseen enemy. From the point of view of the American people, who just gained their independence from one nation, it would look like the French didn’t trust us with this  new freedom that they had just helped us gain. After awhile of this “occupation” the American people could want to rebel against the French, or the French could try to make us part of the their own Empire. One could compare this scenario to the Iraqi war. At first they greeted us as liberators. Then as we became an occupying force they began to resent and rebel against us.

The point here is there could be such a thing as too much “help”. It’s like that old saying: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he feeds himself for a lifetime.” If our government really wanted to help these countries there may be better ways to go about it. Instead of starting or participating in an all out War we could give them aid, support, and funding. If this isn’t enough to help them gain independence then maybe they are not ready. Maybe it is not their time. Who are we to make that decision? I believe if we do want to give aid or support it should be up to congress however. This way there would be a more representative decision on the part of the American people on who we help and why. Instead of helping a country because they have oil or are strategically important in a region. Of course this would only truly work if you had an uncorrupted system. Which is a whole other story.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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