I came across this elsewhere and thought it would be worth reposting:
Since I have been back in the States, I have become much more aware of the endless negativity infecting the world. Violence, Greed, Hatred, and Deceit are spreading like weeds. How badly we need to tend to the garden before it becomes completely overgrown. To see what I could do to put a stop to the negativity, I asked the spirit of ayahuasca for advice.
"What can I do to stop the negativity in the world?"
This was my question. After a few moments of deep concentration and determined intention to find the answer. A voice in my head replied with the following beautiful message:
You cannot stop the flow of the River of Negativity, and it is not your job to. This river has been here since the beginning of time, constantly pouring into the Sea of Misery, and it shall continue to do so until the end of time. There is nothing you can do to stop it.
What you can do is clear a space by the bank of the river, and at this space you can build a dock, and from this dock you can make a trail going away from the river and eventually joining up with the Great Path, which leads to the Eternal Light of Love and Compassion.
And when people float by on their rafts of bad habits, they will see the dock and know they have choice. And if they decide to get off their vehicles of defilement and put an end to their path towards misery, the dock will be there to make it easier to disembark. Then, when they get to the shore, they will have a new path to follow, one that will lead them on a journey towards their own salvation.
A time will soon come when the waters of the River of Negativity will become so polluted, that no one will wish to travel it. There will soon be a migration away from the Sea of Misery and towards the Mountain peaks of Love, Peace, and Harmony. Know the paths up these mountains... and when a guide is needed, you will be prepared.
This was a very inspiring exchange. I hope that reading it will give you more determination to continue on the healing path. The world can and will be healed, not by stopping the negative, but by our own decision to head the other way, towards the light.
It puts me in mind that Buddhism is a large dock by itself, with its focus on virtue and doing the right things. But perhaps there is more we can do each individually, by making our own small docks, encouraging people to leave the River of Negativity.
We can start by tending to the weeds in our own garden.
St Seraphim of Sarov said “Aquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.”
Lead by example....Practice the Dharma...Dharma practice is the raft ( AKA 8FP ) on which one crosses the ocean of Samsara...
I love it. In some sense I think that has been my motivation in practice for a while now. To try to be a light in the world, to help maintain a path that people can turn to once they've become disillusioned with the negativity.
It reminds me of a quote though I can't find who said it.
"You are not here to change the world. The world is here to change you"
Though I do think Thich Nhat Hanh was right when he pointed out that to change a negative situation we have to look for and change the conditions that cause the negativity we are trying to address. Making laws against stealing isn't going to help as much as making it a right to have our fundamental needs met.
Two different approaches or vehicles for the dharma to make its way. As a light on (or off) the path and to be engaged with the causes of worldly suffering.
What can we do?
Stop thinking that "what can we do" is anywhere other than right where we now are.
With each nanosecond, a choice toward greed, anger & delusion
or compassion, love & wisdom is there to be made.
Neither self, nor the rest of existence, can be isolated, from the other.
Is there anything that one can do beyond what this one present, fleeting moment offers?
Does one awaken or continue snoozing within a dreamer's dream?
What can we do?
Yes we can, but I think that those who are already making efforts to move towards living a good life, a virtuous life are not the ones most in need of aid. To try and make little tweaks to our own community is not really what the reply received was about.
I thought it was a very beautiful metaphor, the river of negativity, the shore, the docks and the paths up into the mountains. There are many people doing good work, here in the Netherlands we have a magazine called Happinez which focuses on wellness which is very visible.
The places where docks are required are on the boundaries of the river of negativity, or in very visible places where lots of people will see them, perhaps?
Exactly, but to do so in a visible way. To be the dock, which others can see as a sign of positivity in the world, a way of living a virtuous life.
I’ve decided to build a website showing the best parts of my life and a few added bits, as a path towards living a good lifestyle. Its meant to be a dock away from negative habits.
I’ve now made some progress with this, having made a summary of topics and started writing a few of the short essays that I will need to fill out the website. It’s interesting, to write about happiness and a good life, while in fact life has its ups and downs, and its sometimes a struggle to feel that happiness.
I’m not going to write about love on the website, because even though we build our lives on it, its difficult to use it to effect change in your life. And I don’t really feel qualified to speak about it.
I’ve found I’m talking about health and spirituality intertwined when writing for the website. For me those two really go together.