Creating A World That Works for Everyone

earth looking planet render with thin atmosphere and shadow

by Gregory Toole

On the spiritual journey, we are frequently presented with paradox. Paradox occurs when two seemingly opposite statements are both true. One such paradox is that each person is divinely given everything they need, and each person plays an essential role in everyone else getting their needs met.

One reason we might be challenged with this paradox is our tendency sometimes to think of ourselves as separate entities, only theoretically or metaphorically connected to one another. Since we all navigate the world in what appear to be our own unique bodies, it is easy to think of ourselves as individual silos or islands, and to think of the spiritual teaching that offers us dominion over our lives to mean we have little or no responsibility for our fellow beings, or the opposite, that we have to take care of each person because they are less capable than we are.

We see the dysfunction of this belief in separation played out through the two major political parties in the United States. In general, Democrats vie for more social programs because of a belief that society has a role in meeting individual needs. Republicans vie for fewer social programs espousing the virtue of individual personal responsibility.

When we understand the paradox discussed here, we realize that both parties are arguing for the two different sides of the paradox. And since both sides of the paradox are true, it is a meaningless contention, with the real opportunity for dialogue being on how to balance resources between the two truths.

It calls us to remember that all of life is one divine whole. The very earth that we live on is but one planet in a galaxy of tens of billions of planets in a universe with tens of billions of galaxies, numbers that we can’t really even comprehend, except to know that all that we inhabit is but a speck in the universe.

Our bodies literally have trillions of cells all working together to allow one human body to function perfectly. And yet each living cell is also an entity unto itself, perfectly capable of fulfilling its purpose. We, as individuals on the planet, are like the cells in the body. We are all individual parts of one body called earth, each fulfilling our own purpose, and also playing an essential role in the functioning of the whole.

While the cells in our body, under normal conditions, do not vie with each other to meet their individual needs without regard to the other cells and the overall functioning of the body, we as humans often do that very thing.

Every person is divinely provided with everything they need, and we each are part of the meeting of everyone’s needs. We each are the hands, feet, and eyes of the divine. It is through each of us that the world works for everyone, or not. The whole is one of harmony and each individual is called to work in harmony with others for the benefit of the whole.

Each of us has great potential to create a world that works for everyone. This need not be a burden, but more an expansion of awareness. When we are aware of the essential role we play, it is all the little opportunities that make a difference.

There is the well-told story of two people walking along a beach where thousands of starfish have washed ashore and are drying out in the sun, ultimately destined to die. One person begins to pick them up one by one and throw them back into the ocean. The other person says, “What are you doing? There are thousands of starfish here. How can you possibly make a difference?” The first person, upon casting the next starfish into the ocean declares, “Made a difference for that one.” And that is each of us – we have great capacity to make this a world that works for everyone.

Thank you for the difference you are making, just one starfish at a time!

Enjoy the journey.

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