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Do you feel that poverty, war, famine, disease, imprisonment, etc. are all negative experiences that we should avoid as much as possible? Are these scourges that we must rid the planet of? Are they terrible things for anyone to have to experience?
These experiences have been with us for a long time for a very good reason. They help us grow. And so we’re going to continue creating them as long as they continue to serve that purpose so well.
From one perspective these experiences may seem wrong or bad. And yet people are experiencing them every day, and your feeling bad isn’t making a shred of difference to them. Wars are still being fought, people are still getting cancer, and many don’t have access to clean water — despite your best efforts to feel as bad as possible for as long as possible about their crummy situation.
What if you’re the one going through such an experience? Again, your feeling bad doesn’t help much. If anything it makes things worse and guarantees that the unwanted situation will continue. Feeling bad doesn’t typically end wars, hunger, or disease. More likely those negative feelings may help give rise to those events.
Is it noble and ethical to feel bad and then do nothing about it? Complaining about what you don’t like doesn’t make you a compassionate person. It just makes you feel powerless.
You’re not going to change these aspects of reality, not because you don’t care about people, but because deep down there’s a part of you that recognizes the intrinsic value of such experiences, even if you’re not ready to consciously acknowledge that.
From a broader perspective, we can see that the pain involved in such experiences is always temporary, never permanent. It always comes to an end eventually, allowing us to cultivate an awareness of the value of such experiences — a newfound sense of appreciation and gratitude for life.
If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see that you don’t hate these things or want them to go away. The real truth is that you love them and can’t get enough of them. You’re just having a hard time coming to terms with this truth since you’ve been taught to believe it’s wrong.
And so you justify your interest in violence by saying that you’re just observing it or educating yourself — you’re not an active participant, just a concerned bystander. In a similar fashion, you may pay people to slaughter your daily feast of animal flesh, while continuing to pretend you’re a nonviolent person.
Which diseases have you cured? Which famines have you fixed? Which wars did you end? If you think these are ethical pursuits, then where’s the evidence of your ethics? Are you just lazy? Or it is possible — just maybe — that you don’t actually care to spend your life working on any of these things? Aren’t you perfectly fine doing something else entirely? Does this mean, as you’ve been taught to believe, that you’re a bad or uncaring person?
Another way to care about people is to recognize that we’re more than just physical creatures. We are conscious beings, and all of these seemingly negative experiences serve to fuel our expansion and growth. If all we had was perfect peace, health, abundance, and more, we’d likely be bored to tears and depressed. There would be no basis for appreciating what we have. Gratitude and appreciation exist in a realm of contrast. To appreciate something is to recognize the value of its presence relative to its absence.
When you know sickness, you can appreciate health. When you know violence, you can appreciate peace. When you know imprisonment, you can appreciate freedom.
But you can go way beyond appreciating one side at the expense of the other. When you embrace these opposites, you can learn to appreciate both sides as an integrated whole. You can appreciate war as much as peace, disease as much as health, lack as much as abundance, etc. You can see how war expands your courage, how disease gives you time for solitude and introspection, how imprisonment makes you think deeply about how you use your time.
Some people mistakenly assume that I’d like to eliminate poverty, war, disease, and so on from the world. Perhaps I should want to create a more equitable situation for everyone. I would not like that at all. I value these aspects of reality and appreciate them, and I expect to see them continue.
In the years ahead, I expect to see the gap between rich and poor grow even wider. Some people think this is terrible, but to me it’s a good thing — it means more contrast, which will fuel more conscious expansion and growth experiences for all. We will add new layers upon layers as the haves move ever further away from the have-nots in terms of wealth, health, technology, and more.
I expect to see lots of new weapons invented and used as well, and I welcome their arrival. I expect to see new diseases. We have a whole host of new problems ahead. Again, this is wonderful fuel for expansion and growth.
We live in an expanding universe, and it’s expanding in all directions, not just the directions you like. Would you rather live in a contracting universe? Would you truly be happy in a world where life is collapsing towards equality, uniformity, and conformity? Would that make you breathe a sigh of relief — knowing that we’re reducing contrast over time instead of increasing it? Would that be heaven… or hell?
Whether you agree with this article or not makes little difference to me. I care nothing of convincing you of anything. My job is to stimulate growth by bringing unconscious notions to conscious awareness. But for your own sake, make up your mind about this. If you’re serious about putting an end to those unfair, unpleasant, and cruel aspects of human life, then don’t waste another precious moment reading my blog when you could be doing the hero thing. If you truly think the world needs rescuing, then quit being lazy, pick a problem to tackle, and go get busy. Or you could ponder the possibility that maybe the world is perfect the way it is, and your relationship to it is what really needs rescuing.