The First step to building a good world is to imagine it
To get where we’re going, we need to know where we’re going. We need to know we’re on the right track. If our journey is from this world of endless wars, hatred, lies, greed and power-hungry dictators to a good world, we need to know what that better world is.
What does a world at peace look like?
How would we humans live each day in a world where economic, social, political and environmental justice for all Earth’s creatures were commonplace—where living in harmony with the Earth and each other were ordinary.
Visualizing a good world
Here is the world I imagined back in 2005, when I wrote the first Village of Ordinary post.
- A world where people are so whole they have no need for jealousy, no need to covet their neighbor’s possessions or lifestyle, no need for power over others, or for hatred;
- A world where every child is born and raised in so strong an atmosphere of love and acceptance that she or he can’t help but grow to a strong, healthy, self-actualized adult who understands how intertwined we are, each with the other, how much we need one another, and how much more we can accomplish with cooperation and love than with bitterness, envy and anger;
- A world where we respect and nourish ourselves as much as we respect and nourish any other, even the most venerated teacher;
- A world where we respect and nourish our land, air and water as much as ourselves; and
- A world where we respect and nourish the other creatures with whom we have the privilege of sharing the planet as much as we respect ourselves, the Earth and each other.
In meditation, in prayer, on walks, standing at the sink washing dishes, I began to see.
From the silence, a figure emerges
In the warmth and silence of that vision, a figure began to emerge, and another and another. First, I saw Rose, who would become The Village of Ordinary’s narrator. Rose grew up in such a world, raised children of her own with her life partner, Cheyenne. When we first see her in Ordinary, she looks forward to grandchildren. Rose knows only a peaceful society. The people in her world rarely see violence, and then only as a force of nature or accident.
Rose lives in gratitude each day for the bounty of her life, not from a place of being thankful for what she has in this world despite whatever loss and despair she may experience or witness, but from a joyful heart that stops frequently to be, to feel and to celebrate the abundance of goodness, a goodness available to those who live in a time and a place free of the anguish that greed, envy and a lust for power wreak on us all.
At first, I felt alone in this vision, but I knew that if I could visualize a world at peace, perhaps others would join me. Perhaps one day, possibly in my lifetime, we might begin to live in that world. Joyfully, hopefully, since then, I have discovered many people visualizing and working to build a good world, free of human-caused suffering.
I am not alone.
Neither are you.
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