I set out to search for wrong,
I found no one wrong in the world.
When I took a look at my own self,
I found no one more wrong than me.
- Sultan Bahu
For a long time running, my goal in life was to save the world. From what exactly, it did not matter. There were countless causes to champion and multiple battlefronts to fight – poverty, hunger, corruption, hate, terrorism, health, human rights, environment and education. Wherever you may happen to turn, there is always something you can find that is wrong with the world.
I joined groups, volunteered, made donations. But nothing I did was able to lift the weight placed on my heart.
There was too much suffering, too much pain. The bursting of tears made no difference. The human resolve laid deeply buried under the atrocities silently committed around the world. It was only when I opened myself to the indifference of the world that I began to appreciate the anguish in my own heart.
The truth – as I have come to learn – is that the world is as it has been, and will be. It is only us that come and go. For centuries we have not been able to rid ourselves of poverty or hunger, abuse or ignorance. What have we exactly achieved that we stand so proud of our progress and existence?
Our track record is dreadful.
Take for instance the fact that the last 100 years have been the bloodiest in history. We also have more money and food today than ever before yet our craving for worldly gratification knows no bounds. We have the collective ability to solve all of the world’s problems but certainly not the willingness as we choose to hoard and spend aimlessly. It appears the biggest disease in the world is our self.
I’m left wondering whether the aim in life should be to “save the world”, or to “save yourself from the world”. The world, with all its glitter, has been taken up so much in our thoughts that it has quietly gained possession of the heart.
Everyone, at some point in their life, thinks of changing the world, but no one really thinks of changing himself. Confucius believed that: “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”
We are so enchanted by this world that we have made the world our heart, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Burn worldly love,
Rub the ashes and make ink of it.
Make the heart the pen,
The intellect the writer,
Write that which has no end or limit.
- Guru Nanak
It is time to rescue our hearts.