Society’s Spiritual Cost
The System of Suffering
The System’s Suffering
Before looking at the truth of life, it is very important that we understand the manner in which we can come to find our own truth. One does not simply wake up one day and discover it. It is a long, trying process which involves facing every lie-big and small-in your life. However, the reality of the world today is that not all lies prohibiting spiritual awakening reside within one’s own being. The majority of the remaining factors are influenced by modern day society.
After your own ego, contemporary society is the most prohibitive construct for your spiritual journey. Its many flawed ideals are responsible for your false sense of self, and, as a result, your inflated ego. That’s not all, they have spiritual consequences on an even larger scale as well, making it largely responsible for the suffering of millions of people in the world today.
We are losing sight of what it means to be human. The things that we own, and wish to own, in many instances, have come to mean more to us than our own family, friends, and even ourselves.
The Worrying Numbers
In Trinidad and Tobago, it is estimated that around 273,000 people, one in five persons, are living in poverty. In comparison, the estimate in Jamaica stands at about one in four people, or 720,000 people. While in the region’s poorest country, Haiti, an astonishing 6.2 million people fall below the poverty line.
The region’s crime statistics are equally as alarming. According to an Inter-American Development Bank 2017 report, the Caribbean’s violent crime rates “are among the highest in the world.” The report’s findings said that among the persons interviewed, nearly one in three said they had lost someone to violence. It added that guns are used about twice as often in robbery and three times as often in an assault in the Caribbean as compared to the global average.
Internationally, the United Nations says that more than 1.3 billion people, close to half of the world’s population, are living in extreme poverty - making less than US$2.50 per day. The organization also estimated that there are more than 1 billion children living in poverty, with 22,000 of those children dying every day.
Yet, despite this, it is estimated that global military expenditure stands at over US $1.7 trillion annually.
Now, if that isn’t worrying enough, in a recent World Wildlife Fund report, it was said that the earth is headed towards its sixth mass extinction event. Saying that there are more than 16,000 animal species on the endangered lists, the report added that this event could very well see hundreds or even thousands of those species becoming extinct each year.
And, well, I’m sure you might have heard about this thing called global warming as well.
What are your goals in life?
What is your purpose in life?
Now, when you answer those two questions, you may, at first, think they are one and the same question. Let me assure you, they are not. Goals are a social concept, while purpose is a spiritual concept. Society wants you to believe the two are one and the same.
Like most people, chances are you probably said to yourself that your goals are: to own a nice home, a new car, to have a high-paying job and to have a family. But do you really want all these things, or do you feel obliged to have them?
You see, ever since we can remember, most of us have been told that we need to be successful. However, in most instances, we had very little input into the form this ‘success’ will take. It often entails getting educated so that we become qualified enough to get a job to proud of. With a nice job, we can afford all the things we need and want. If we then accomplish all these things, we will have a good life, they told us.
But ask yourself, does that guarantee you happiness and fulfilment?
Does that ensure that you have accomplished your own particular purpose in this life?
For some people, the answer might very well be yes. For others, there is still a profound sense of unfulfillment. Despite achieving all this social success, they still feel purposeless. This is because their social goals were not aligned with their spiritual purpose.
And you will find increasingly that regardless of one’s monetary wealth, more and more people are feeling this sense of purposelessness today. In fact, you might very well be one of these people. For many members of this generation, it seems like we give so much to receive so little. It seems, at times, no matter how hard we try, our jobs, and society in general, does not fully appreciate us.
Poverty is no longer just a monetary concept, but also a mental and spiritual one. And it’s actually this lack of mental and spiritual well-being that is primarily responsible for the widespread suffering among us. This hopelessness is exactly why so many people have life but are not living.
Think about it, how many genuinely happy people do you know personally?
Are you, yourself, happy?
We all have certain responsibilities but do not overlook your mental and spiritual well being. Seek balance.
Do not let your professional life become your entire life. It is essential that you find time for yourself, as well as those who mean the most to you. Do not take your life for granted; in the next second you can be gone.
I know chances are the struggles of everyday life constantly consume your mind. It’s a seemingly never-ending challenge to resolve the issues that absorb you. This drains you mentally and physically, leaving little room for anything else.
The answer to these problems lie in spirituality. You see spirituality isn’t about joining a particular religious institution and it certainly isn’t about living a conservative life, devoid of emotion. It is simply the discovery of one’s true self, and by extension, universal truth and love. These things lie at the core of one and all.
You might not think that spirituality is even a real thing and I understand why you might think so, but trust me, it is.
What do you have to lose?
The Power of Purpose
I’m not advocating that you abandon your responsibilities, but place purpose first. This is why your spiritual journey is of utmost importance. It is only on this path that you can discover your true purpose. Life with purpose is living.
Do not sit back and wait for life to take shape. Get up and get going. Take calculated risks.
So if your high-paying job gives you a sense of purpose, keep doing it. But, if you have always felt love and joy in doing something that pays less, and still allows you to provide, why not take that chance? You deserve to feel fulfilled.
So many members of our generation are trapped by our jobs; many of which pay just enough for us to pay the bills. Most likely, these companies are banking on our fear, and sense of entrapment, to keep us there indefinitely. They will pay us an underwhelming wage and/or mistreat us because they know the chances are we will sit and take it in fear of leaving our comfort zone. Demand better for yourself. Regret is the worst thing that you can experience in life. It is far worse than failure.
Failure brings lessons; regret brings resentment.
Many of us were taught to play it safe. I’m not urging you to forgo safety, but do not play life safe. If you are always going for the obvious and risk-free option, you are not only limiting your chances of failure, but you are also harming your chances of discovering true joy.
Think about when you go on a nice vacation. You spend most of your time outdoors, meeting new people and seeking new experiences. There’s always this lightness and joy to life when you are on vacation. But why is that you must be only entitled to this sense of stress-free liberation for one or two weeks a year? You might not be able to feel this way every day of your life, but certainly, you can do so at least once a week.
You see purpose brings the very same stress-free liberation that you feel when you are on vacation. You feel alive. It’s as though every moment means something, as though every act is precious because you know it only lasts a certain length of time. This is the key to living your life every day as if you are on vacation. It is to live each day as if it’s your last. It is to find purpose.
I’ll discuss this in more detail later but don’t think purpose is all about your type of employment. It is not. There are infinite ways in which you can feel a greater sense of purpose, but they all involve love. Among them are: devoting more time to those you care about most, or by giving to those in need.
Life is about balance. Today too many lives lack balance. Basing their entire lives around acquiring wealth, too many people need to want and want to need. If things, and not people, are what is most important in your life, you need to rediscover yourself.
Find what truly brings love to you and those who mean the most to you. It is there that you will find purpose.
Beating the System
The way to beat the system is by coming together and creating micro-societies. Form strong bonds and friendships with those with similar mindsets and levels of consciousness. Elevate one another. Share ideas and concepts openly. Stay in touch with nature.
Despite the system’s predominantly unbalanced nature, there are still many good things to be found within it. There will always be people with the light within; seek them out. In addition, there are organizations and groups which create a sense of companionship and unity. Seek out the best that the system has to offer. These are the people, and things, trying to change society for the better; join their cause.
Making a Difference
If you are a storyteller, even the simple stories about the nice middle-aged man who moved to town to escape the hardships in Venezuela has the potential to open someone’s eyes. Someone who might have been less than welcoming might suddenly see the deeper meaning of the man’s need to get away from his home country. They will then, in turn, be more accommodating.
Purpose was achieved via storytelling, in this instance, but it can be achieved in countless ways. That’s the beauty of purpose. It has the power to evoke change through the power of emotions, and most of all, love.
As the flower wilts without sunlight, purpose withers in the absence of love.
Make a change, in whatever way you can, one person at a time. However, please be gentle and patient. You might think based on your experiences your way is the best way to make a breakthrough with someone, but just because it worked for you, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. You must be willing to adapt. Listen to people, so you can understand them. In that way, you will find a way to form a meaningful connection with them.
And please remember, no matter how down the system gets you, violence is never the right approach. The use of force will never result in a permanent fix. Hate can never be the answer.
Our mission is to open hearts and minds one person at a time. That is how we will fix this system. Regardless of what people might have done in the past, give them a chance and play a role in elevating their consciousness. You are not better than anyone else. Your happiness is their happiness. Their hurt is your hurt. Your love, my love, their love is our love.
Together we will create a fairer system one day, but the one that exists today doesn’t want you to find yourself. Question everything you are told and look beyond its lies until you find truth. The truth is always there waiting.
In the next post, we will take a closer look at mental slavery.
Thanks for joining me again.
There is no wave without, at first, a ripple.