While we’re here, do we have a responsibility – to others, to ourselves?  short term, long term?  Does our life view make a difference – if we are a physical being and only live once, if we value making it better for those who come later, if we believe in reincarnation, or if feel we need to enhance the progress and growth of our spirit?  Maybe we’re not sure, don’t care, or believe at some level we should be responsible, but can’t make a difference anyway.  We’re only one person in a world that’s moving faster than we can comprehend and certainly can’t control.  Maybe we need to step back and look closer at compassion, at oneness, at working together, and at what we can do.

Compassion versus Self-Interest:  When looking at the question of morality versus self-interest, many people assume that feeling compassion for others is only good for the others, and not for oneself.   The Dalai Lama points out that the first beneficiary of compassion is always one’s self.   When compassion arises in us and shifts our focus away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door:  Compassion reduces our fear, boosts our confidence, and brings us inner strength.  By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection with them and a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

Accepting We Are One:  Diversity can be the art of thinking independently together.  It’s not the differences that divide us.  It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.  Most often our failure lies not in what we do but in what we do not do, the words we fail to say, the hand we fail to reach out to.

People Working Together:  It’s helpful to see the interconnectedness between things.  We may want to recognize too that the spiritual paradigm is growing in all kinds of ways, though still has a long ways to go.  Believing that this life is the only one may well lead to developing no long-term vision.  Then there is nothing to restrain plundering the planet for immediate ends and from living in a selfish way that could prove fatal for the future.  We are not the center of the universe.  We need to shift awareness.  This is the age of interdependence.

Paradigm Change:  We need to face the challenge of responsibility, of freedom, of compassion.  If not us, who – if not now, when?  We must stand together for morality, for what we know is right and just. World systems make it difficult to make massive changes.  We need to live in the currents.  The secret in turbulent water is not to fight, but to let the current take you out.  It may take you out a long ways, but then it will drop you.  Then you can swim back in on the eddy, which can take you almost all the way back to the beach and solid ground.  Then you can do it again.  That may be the way we have to do it.

The time is always right to do what is right.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.   Sigmund Freud

It is our own responsibility, as best we can, to live up to the divine potential God has placed within each one of us.   Marianne Williamson

You never go wrong when you do the right then.  Mark Twain.

Well done is better than well said.  Ben Franklin

Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.    Chief Seattle  (1854)

This is really the problem with Gen X and baby boomers.  They’ve championed this kind of individualism.  They’ve championed thinking less about the community.    Neil Howe

Nothing worth doing can be done in a single lifetime.  Reinhold Niebuhr

What we do for ourselves dies with us.  What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.   Albert Pike

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.   Margaret Mead

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.   Ralph Waldo Emerson

We learn from history that we do not learn from history.  George Bernard Shaw

There is no path to peace.  Peace is the path.    Gandhi

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think.  The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice.  What you do comes from what you think.    Marianne Williamson

If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.   Chinese proverb