Hmm. Sounds like a highly extraverted / yang question. Like…”What’s the most I can do?” or “How can I best serve the Highest Good of All?”
And yet, the mind returns to the words of Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Perhaps Mr. Thurman is right. If so then, the question to ask would be, “What makes me come alive?” And also, to answer that ask, “What does it look like / feel like for me to come alive?”
To speculate on Mr. Thurman’s words, “coming alive” could look like a smiling, joyful human doing creative work, engaging in a focused way, enjoying every bit of it. All the while, the one who has “come alive” remains connected with Higher Purpose and a sense of destiny, clearly aware and understanding of how present moment activity is serving to create a more abundant future for oneself and everyone, bringing more love and peace and joy and health and happiness and harmony, higher consciousness and awareness to all.
“Coming alive,” then, might be called that enthusiastic state when your activity is goal-oriented while also enjoying the process. Not only is it goal-oriented, but you’re also aware of how you’re serving the entire universe and all creation by your thoughts and actions, so that you are at complete peace and feel whole in your actions, intentions, and direction you are heading. Success, defined as the progressive realization of a worthy ideal, in this case, means that your worthy ideal is one that serves everyone and everything in a wonderful way. Your actions are connected to serving the good of all, and in this way – selfless. And in the selflessness, or self-forgetfulness, you have so much peace every step of the way.
Alrighty then! So the one who has “come alive” has a clear sense of Higher Purpose and joyfully serves the whole, the All. And why would they serve the All? Perhaps, because in some way, they identify with Oneness or Unity Consciousness, understanding the interconnected of us all, like we are all children of God, or whatever other language you might like to use. So what’s good for me is good for you, and what’s good for you is good for me. We are One! And life supports life, and with this perspective it’s easy to want to serve everyone and everything, because ultimately that is serving you. So selfishness or selflessness is somewhat of an illusion, because ultimately it’s all just the One Self. Unity! Or, to use language from an eastern tradition, everything exists in the Tathagata Storehouse. And, if you’d like, All is well in the Tathagata Storehouse :-)
If the answer to “What’s best for the world?” is “Whatever makes you come alive,” then this sounds very much like Gandhi’s prescription, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” No matter how much is going on in the world, all we can ever most directly influence is our own experience of reality; our thoughts, our feelings, our actions. So the best thing we can do for all the world and all creation is to be our personal best; to utilize the gifts we’ve been given responsibility and power over in love and service to the Highest Good of All. To use the mind and body and heart and soul with love and wisdom, that is our task. To think good thoughts, to take good actions, to send love and gratitude to everyone and everything we come into contact with, to constantly feel good and generous and appreciative for this wonderful gift of life, perhaps this is our mission. To orient our thinking towards answering the question, “What can I give?” and “How can I serve in this Present Moment?” maybe this is something we can strive for. To free ourselves from attachment to dogma and thinking that things should be a certain way, and to move into a more accepting attitude towards each and every moment, ultimately embracing the mystery of existence and cherishing whatever before us – this sounds like a worthy endeavor. To move beyond judging people and instead choose to accept and love everyone no matter what, and to see the Holy Spirit and the Beauty and Goodness in All – let us train ourselves to live in this reality! To stop demanding so much, and instead be grateful for the simple things, even just to enjoy breathing – we can do this!
Another one of my favorite eastern sayings is “Wu Wei,” which can be translated to mean, “In doing nothing, one accomplishes much,” or even, “In doing nothing, one accomplishes everything.” Think about how many ‘problems’ come from us taking actions and consuming things; how much destruction comes from human activity! Yet, we create a lot of goodness as well, but wouldn’t this seem like a more peaceful, loving, and holy world if we all spent more time ‘doing nothing?’ That is, what if we all spent more time simply sitting, listening, maybe looking at a flower, or the beauty in another person? Wouldn’t we all consume less and want less if we want spent more time sitting in stillness and silence? Maybe there’s a tendency for us to look for peace and happiness in the external world, but isn’t there also a possibility that we have immense riches and an entire kingdom within ourselves?
Recently, Thich Nhat Hanh’s wisdom of “Breathe, smile, and go slowly,” has began to resonate with me again. Especially going slowly. It can be hard to really appreciate what is before us and the miracle of this present moment when we go quickly. Literally, physically moving the body quickly makes it much more challenging for us to look at anything and see the beauty in it. It also makes it harder for us to truly listen to all the sounds around us, or to hear the sound within us, the breathe and the heart. When we drastically slow down, either to the point of stillness or moving at a sloth’s pace, it becomes much easier to create good feelings in the body and to appreciate all that is before us and within us. Going slowly, it also becomes easier for us to direct our thoughts to whatever elevates us or brings us a sense of peace. Going slowly, we can reconnect with what matters most and cherish all the gifts of life and consciousness.
Physically moving the body slowly can be very difficult. Ironically enough, it’s hard to go slowly. Perhaps one of the best ways to begin would be to challenge yourself to do for 30 days a time, no excuses! Spend 5 minutes a day for 30 days in a row, either sitting still or moving the body very slowly, whether it be a slow walk or slowly curling and uncurling the fingers, or just witnessing the breath – give yourself the gift of observing the miracle of the body, and to revel in how amazing it is that the body can do anything, and how much works of the body occur without conscious understanding. By doing this, we can become aware the intelligence of the universe (perhaps the Mind of God) that works in us and through us and is a part of us. And we grow in appreciation of the gift of the body that is with us always, at least – so long as we are embodied ;-) The miracle of the present moment becomes all the more apparent, and we realize that we truly have everything we need to enjoy our here and now.
What does the world need? What makes you come alive?
Joy! Feeling joyous and grateful life itself, for the gift of the mind and the body, just for being in the here and now! What more do we really need than this moment? Isn’t consciousness enough for here? Isn’t consciousness enough for now?
The first three words I received from What Is when I asked for three words I could commit my life to: “Hallelujah. Listen. Relax.”
Grateful for this present moment and for life – praise God! Praise Goodness! Then we simple listen to what is happening all around us and within us. Listen to the body, listen to the mind, listen to nature, listen to conscience, listen to What Is. And relax, because fundamentally we know all is well. All is mysterious, all is! All is, we are, somehow – someway – it happened, and we’re it! Ah, mystery! Relax in the listening and in the gratitude for the miracle of life itself. The present moment offers more than enough for us to enjoy.
So perhaps the best thing we can all do for the world and all creation is to enjoy. Enjoy, enjoy enjoy. Live in a state of joy. Love everything, including your physical body, mind, and all that you are. Cultivate the gifts. Seek knowledge that enlightens, empowers, and liberates. Seek Peace Within, and remember to enjoy the present moment. Or, as it’s been said, “Follow your bliss.” Oddly enough, following your bliss might require courage, it might require you to overcome a fear or two or twenty. Overcoming fear can be tricky business. Alas, you can always just let fear go, and it goes. Drop the burden and there is no one there to carry it. Instead of fearing, you can choose to enjoy. And detach from the fear, even detach from overcoming it, and realize that anything that you want to do ‘in the world,’ is unnecessary. There is nothing we can do to earn the love of God of the support of the universe. Our very existence and our awesome powers of consciousness and awareness assure us that we are loved and cared for and forgiven no matter what – and in this way there is really nothing for us to do. Just enjoy. And enjoying comes in abundance with a remembrance and awareness that we are unconditionally loved and forgiven, always and forever. What created us cares for us each and every moment. And, what created us is powerful enough to create the entire universe, so certainly it’s powerful enough to satisfy any of our individual needs and desires. In fact, what created us is powerful enough to bring us what is perfect for us, each and every moment. In this way, the Present Moment is perfect for us. It offers us everything we need, including the perfect message for our learning, growth, evolution, and movement towards higher consciousness and awareness. To grow in love and gratitude for the Here and Now, maybe this is our mission! “All you ever need for fulfillment in life is awareness.” Our task is to remain aware of the awesome, limitless creative power that brings us into the here and now and created all of it, and with this awareness we can live in a constant state of love, gratitude, and always joy.
It is in the breathe :-)
Hallelujah! Listen. Relax.
p.s. In many ways, what the world doesn’t need is more books. Or more words, for that matter. The highest truths have been written over and over again. Less common is it for them to be spoken from one to another, and even less common is for them to be lived. And what does it look like for them to be lived? It looks like love! It looks and feels like joy and gratitude in abundance!
So then, why do i choose to write? This writing is done in a state of joy, with feelings of love and gratitude and appreciation. And it helps train this consciousness to be more conscious and aware and to love more. And it is creative expression, which i think is one of the reasons we human bodies are here, and it’s one of the ways we enjoy.
Instead of writing to write, this is more of writing to enjoy. And enjoying while writing. It’s not so much about the what we do as it is the how. “Do it with joy or not at all!” Begin with how you’re feelings, feel good!, and allow that feeling to move you towards whatever action. Stay with the good feeling though :) and whatever actions follow will inevitability be good as well. Prioritize the vibration! Vibrate abundantly, joyously, lovingly, gratefully. Be the abundant human magnet and attract so much goodness into your world.