I often ask myself what my children will say about the world that my generation gave them in their maturity. My son is five years old and my daughter almost three and they have a crystal clean view of this world and they asks a lot of questions. Because there are a lot of questions. My generation of people were born in the seventies and are in our creative and entreprenual prime. We have the experience of time, technology and schooling. We can be a society plagued by greed and entitlement without a thought of compassion or we could be warriors for the ideal society. All we really need to do is remind ourselves that we have a physical body, an emotional mind, insight, humanity and our breath. The rest will follow.
I believe innate goodness is our birthright. Consider that we are born with natural intelligence, natural warmth and natural openness. The intelligence to know how to solve a problem even before we can walk, the capacity to love and be loved and the ability to be open to the wonder of life. If we have these qualities and can draw upon them, we can find ease and steadiness into our life and be of help to others and our world. And isn’t this a better place to be in our maturity? How will we chose to be when we face the end of our lives? What will they say, the ones who come after us? What problems will we solve? What problems will we create? What glorious destructions will they witness? The sun will be shining. The moon will glow. But in a different time and space.
I was struck a couple months ago teaching a group of young girls yoga. They were between the ages of 7-9 years old and they began to talk about God. Without any prompting from me whatsoever. One mentioned her father was Buddhist and her mother a Christian and pointed to two of her many bracelets with pictures of saints. One girl chimed in that her necklace was from Israel and she was Jewish, another chimed in that she was also Jewish. The other girls were quiet and I felt I needed to address God. I told them that some people believe in God, God as a person, God as a being and some chose not to believe in God at all. But that in yoga we can bring whatever our beliefs are into our bodies by learning to meditate and quiet our mind. One of the young Jewish girls said that we can bring “peace into our mind”, a simple yet powerful observation. No matter what we believe, there is the connection to ourselves.
At the end of our talk, the young girl with the Buddhist and Christian parents said, “But nobody really knows” and I was struck because I felt the same way standing in the wooden pews of my Episcopalian youth. Divinity is something I can think about now, some thirty years later, with my own interpretations and life experience. Yet that same thought, that same voice appeared in my girlish head when I looked up at the adults standing around me reciting The Book of Common Prayer, and said, “Wait, nobody really knows.” Gratitude and faith are all that is really accessible; reverence toward myself and others is all that I can practice.
Be it a faith, science or art, practicing gratitude and awareness in our lives displays the beautiful workings of humankind’s innate goodness. This is the path to finding abundance. I have been reminding myself to consider what having abundance means in the present moment. If I look at my desires and think about what I want and what it would cost and how that is an amount that I am not willing to spend presently, then I am making peace with the fact that I want something and will wait to have it, or may never have it, but what I have now is okay. I look with gratitude and consider my possibilities.
Depending on different stages of life, the desires of material change. What was once important to us at ten years of age is now the hope of our friend’s child or our own. My son loves to build with Legos and as his imagination grows, so does his desire for more and more of those tiny blocks. He also learns to create with what he has, with his own natural intelligence, his passion and his openminded perceptions. I have my own building blocks, some for space and privacy, some in the form of an escape from the routine of my suburban life, some are just for nourishing foods. And this is where I find it most helpful to look presently and with gratitude at my own abundance and create with what I have, my insight, my love and my openmindedness. This is where I am most human and a warrior of the spirit. From this place, I raise two people in honor of their own innate goodness.
Our beliefs, our words, our constant contacts, they can come from this place of idealism. This place of goodness, of humanness, that is smart enough to solve every problem, to truly love ourselves and thereby others, and to be open to all beauty within a grain of sand on a stretch of ocean. It is all available. It does not come without work, but we are given choices everyday and the directions to go towards those choices from a place of love and not fear is what may just give us a truly abundant future.