Posts Tagged With: relationships

Our Journey To Solve Global Problems

Teach-Girls-End-World-PovertyWe are on a journey to see that problems in our world which technically need not exist be eliminated through understanding and implementing solutions.

It is within my reason that there is no technical reason why people on earth lack life’s vital needs such as clean water, healthy food, safe shelter, and access to tools enabling communication and education (e.g. relationships).

We as human beings have engineered incredible technological achievements that could easily provide a high quality of life for all people. Because we have the capability, but have not yet chosen to utilize technology for the betterment and liberation of those who are imprisoned by the devices of poverty, my conclusion can only be that the true solutions to our world’s problems dwell within the thinking and heart of each individual, community, country, and species of humanity.

A change in our thinking and what we view to be important is the first step in seeing generosity spread, first from the individual, then to the community, and then through the world. When a community knows generosity they know no poverty because the resources available are freely shared with each other, not for profit or power over each other, but from a realization that the welfare of another is also the welfare of our-self. If I am well fed while another is starving, while the resources are available for both of us to be well fed, this screams to the attention that something must be done, something must change.

When I first began to become aware of the problems of starvation, disease, lack of clean water, and the countless deaths of children happening around the world due to poverty, I found myself questioning how one could possibly make a difference in regards to the problems which have existed for as long as any of us can remember. What confounded my logic all the more was to learn that the problems didn’t need to actually exist. I first thought that surely these problems are just the way things are and there is no changing the way things are. I took a deep journey of introspection to discover the core of these problems in hopes of also discovering a way to solve the problem within us that perpetuates “the way things are.”

I first traveled across the United States to meet the homeless. I grew up in a lower-middle class home which by no means was wealthy by American standards, but I had also never experienced what it was truly like not to have a roof over my head at night, food in my belly, and the many other comforts which life for most in America avails. So, I wanted to go to cities through America to met the homeless, those often overlooked by the majority of society, to understand how they had arrived to the circumstantial place in life they had.

I went with the intent of providing meals for those who were hungry, and although food was appreciated, I discovered that the true thing the homeless desired was simply my time, recognition of their humanity, and someone who would listen. This was my first clue into what can make a difference – relationship to one another.

We live in a world with unsurpassed tools of communication and connecting with one another. But on the other hand, this enhancement of ability to connect with one another, I think, has lead to us growing more disconnected in ways that can be difficult to measure with algorithms and metrics. How can we measure the level of connection with one another? That, to me, is something quite intangible which cannot  be so easily defined with numbers and letters. A deep connection of relationship to one another is something that can be expressed simply in the look two people exchange with one another, the touch of a hug or pat on the back, and the time spent simply listening to another tell their story. Listening is a two-way activity and is starkly different than reading someone’s story through a news article, facebook feed, or blog post.

When the human connection is made we begin to feel that another’s well being is important to us, and the spirit of generosity begins to be given room to grow.

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The Importance of Philosophy

Busts Statues of Sokrates, Antisthenes, Chrysippos, EpikourosPhilosophy is a term that may conjure images of ancient Greek men with long white beards sitting around discussing the big questions of existence. I believe the word “philosophy” goes far deeper than history and speaks to the very core of everything we see happening in our world.

Philosophy is the way in which we think, and goes beyond thought itself. It is our ideas about the nature of life and death; truth and falsehood; our relationship to one another and all living beings.

The way we think leads to the way we live, and what we give to each other in thought and deed. Anytime we share our points of view on matters of politics, news stories, religion, and the many other topics with dominate our conversations, we are discussing philosophy. The philosophy we share with others also shapes and fuels the policies and actions taken by governments and institutions. Our philosophy is our idea and our idea becomes the reality we see.

True philosophy is by its’ own nature cooperative. Philosophy is a table for us to place differing ideas upon as each individual is uniquely different. when two philosophies meet in verbal discourse we are granted the exciting opportunity of learning from one another how to see things from a new perspective. This is the understanding of philosophical discussion which leads to peace.

When we do not see philosophy for what it is – different but neither opposed or unopposed viewpoints – we make ourselves the judge over the thoughts and ideas of another. This path leads to a mentality of agreement or disagreement; ultimately, war and destruction.

Competition, and in this case, the competition of ideas, is what some believe to be the key mechanism needed for progress.  It is seen often as a type of necessary evil to fuel our drive to achieve more, climb higher, and do more work. But that would greatly depend upon what kind of progress one means. Competition is a continuous game of one-up-manship. A game by which we are always looking to be a step ahead of our fellow man and woman. This is thinking is entirely against and at war with serving others, and therefore will always lead to the true benefit of none.

It is of highest importance that we share in philosophical discussion with each other, whatever our current philosophy on life and the world may be. Because sharing our points of view, ideas, and thoughts in honest and open discourse with one another is the key to how we learn and grow in life with each other. In order to have a truly open and honest dialogue we must see and discuss in terms of difference rather than looking to agree or disagree with what another might say. That is how we really listen to what someone else has to say. And the mark of a being true friend can be found in how well we listen to each other.

Thank you for “listening” to my writing. Now it is your turn to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s discuss philosophy!

 

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Intentional Experience

Homeless people on the streetsIt’s difficult to understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. When we experience how life is lived by others our own perspective and understanding increases.

In 2009 I went for a drive. I had no idea where I would go, but I was headed east in my 1987 Buick Skylark that would shut down if I pressed the accelerate too hard or too quickly. I had lived a semi-luxurious lifestyle in my young adult life; earning a good salary, living in nice homes, and enjoying nice dinners. But I had this urge to meet and spend time with people living on the streets, to hear the stories of people all too often neglected by our society.

I didn’t have a motive of some type of “humanitarian relief” agenda, I simply wanted to gain experience of how life is lived in a way that I had yet to experience. Furthermore, I didn’t have much by way of personal funds to give monetarily. I traveled through Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, stopping in cities along the way to simply go find people to talk to. What I discovered change my own perspective on why people are homeless, and what they truly need.

I had always thought that really helping the poor meant giving them food or a shelter for the night, but I quickly realized that all people living within the circumstances of sleeping on the streets wanted was someone to listen, recognize them, and see them as an equally valuable human being. Food and shelter certainly didn’t hurt, but I learned that the physical aspects of giving aid must come from a personal connection or relationship with people who need help in obtaining access to life’s most vital needs.

I think that far too much of humanitarian aid is given by organizations and philanthropists who see what they are doing more as a job they do for a good purpose or cause, without truly understanding those we mean to help. But in order to truly help someone we must understand them, know them, and see things from their perspective. It is often the case that to see things from another’s perspective, we have to live as they live and experience what they experience.

In 2005 I remember coming to the conclusion that one of my primary goals in this life was simply to understand. I wanted to understand as many perspectives of people as possible, in order to gain a deeper understanding of life and why our human world is the way that it is. At the age of 19, the problems of poverty confounded my mind. I couldn’t understand why so much of the planet was subjected to such living conditions, while we have so many resources available. I couldn’t understand why churches squabbled over theological differences, while the poor were suffering on their doorsteps. I couldn’t understand why some had so much more than they could ever use or enjoy, while so many lacked the very resources needed to live at all.

I knew there must be a solution.

The solution to the problems we face as a planet begin in a place undefinable with human language; although, I will do my best to illustrate my thoughts using these symbolic representations we call letters and words.

Love, I believe is something much more than the four letters comprising it could ever could truly encapsulate or evoke. Love is a force which binds together all of humanity; initiating compassion, generosity, and liberation within each of our hearts. A community that fully knows generosity does not know poverty.

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