"In this world we’re waking up in, we can’t just close our
eyes and follow our breath — we have to find a way to contribute what we love to this world. I love to practice because I feel like that aligns me with what
I could call my North Star: what will I contribute? What do I love? We’re usually good at what we love, you know.
So, where is my heart needed most? That’s the question that comes to me. In some ways, the Dharma saved my life. But service gave me a life worth living. And that’s what made it beautiful." Vinny Ferraro
Our very nature is the activity or energy of loving / nurturing. The more we can embody our true nature the better it is for ourselves, everyone & everything.
I've written about the pivotal importance of loving & nurturing - it's well-worth re-visiting these blogs imho : http://www.johnlovas.com/search?q=love
HOWEVER some, even in the relatively stable & affluent West, will find all of the above irritatingly idealistic & impractical. Why? Because for them, the only practical activity is facing existing difficulties, and everything that might go terribly wrong. For them, this 'glass half-empty' perspective is not a matter of choice, but rather a necessity based on harsh past experience. Personal & inter-generational traumas affect ALL of us, but in highly varying degrees. Refugees from war-ravaged countries; those who've lived for decades in refugee camps; abused women & children; visible minorities; those who've experienced chronic poverty, disability, lack of formal education, lack of relevant work experience, & inadequate English / French language skills; etc, can add up to almost insurmountable challenges that most of us can't even imagine. This large group of people has experienced, & thus now sees the world, VERY DIFFERENTLY!
And even if we're fortunate enough to have had minimal direct experience of acute or ongoing forms of trauma such as poverty & racism, the news media, all forms of advertising & populist politicians spend billions each year, to keep us insecure, anxiously 'consuming' their (useless to harmful) products.
One of the world's foremost PTSD experts: “If you feel safe & loved, your brain (is) specialized in exploration, play, & cooperation; if you are frightened & unwanted, it (is) specialized in managing feelings of fear & abandonment." Bessel Van Der Kolk. “The Body Keeps the Score. Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.” Penguin Books, 2015.
We clearly can't move forward intelligently while gripped with fear & reactivity. Despite our current very serious challenges, we must learn to stabilize in some degree of spaciousness in order to manifest our true nature - our capacity to nurture ourselves, each other and our planet and extricate ourselves from the mess we've created. More & more mature, wise voices are pointing the way to do exactly this:
Stephanie Kaza ed. "A Wild Love for the World: Joanna Macy and the Work of Our Time." Shambhala, 2020.
EXCELLENT Joanna Macy interview by Krista Tippett: https://onbeing.org/programs/joanna-macy-a-wild-love-for-the-world/
"All You Need Is Love" - Beatles