An individual is a unit of a family. A family is a unit of a community. If the Individual is transformed, then the family transforms and in turn the community is transformed. A nation constituted of such strong communities naturally becomes a power to reckon with.
- We must first realise and experience our personal interconnectedness with the universe.
- With this understanding comes a strong sense of love and empathy for all people, animals, plants and nature.
- Out of this sense of respect and reverence for the totality, one becomes universal in his outlook.
- When the individual possesses this universal outlook, his vision is larger, his goals are bigger, and his ideals are stronger.
- When we live with strong ideals and work towards a larger vision, universal transformation happens.
What’s your vision?
Unravel the web of life!
1. Think about what you had for dinner last night.
2. Now map out the entire journey of your meal – how did it get to your dinner table? Where did the journey start? Who do you think were involved in the process? What backgrounds do these people come from? Which parts of the world? Is it just people, or other forces of nature that probably contributed too? List the different contributors!
3. Try and make the list as long as possible.
4. See how interdependent we all are? And this is just one meal! Think about everything else in your life-family, friends, food, shelter, clothes, education, entertainment… we take so much from the world around us.
5. Introspect – what are you giving back?
Think! How do our actions affect the universe?
1. Think of an ordinary activity that you do regularly, e.g. Taking a shower.
2. Are you performing this activity with minimum resources and maximum efficiency? E.g. Are you taking long showers unnecessarily, or using only what you need?
3. When we use more resources than we need to, what is the effect of that wastage on a universal level? To gauge this, think about what would happen if everyone acted in the same way that you did.
Reflect! How do I develop a universal outlook?
Think of a cause which inspires you to make a change.
1. Build a strong vision to realise that change. Set a goal so high that you cannot reach it. Remember, reaching the goal is not as important as striving for it. As Che Guevara said, “Let’s be realistic, demand the impossible!”
2. Be fearless in pursuing it. Have the courage to make mistakes. When you fail, bounce back to try again.
3. Make it happen! Transform the dream into a reality by inspiring and empowering others to work for that same vision too.
Realise! How does a person with a universal outlook act?
We must perform every action with an expanded sense of responsibility, and a deep sensitivity of the consequences of our actions on a bigger scale. This can be achieved by practicing alertness while performing all action.
10 simple ways in which we can make a difference to the universe:
1. Spend 10 minutes every day sitting in silence, sending out love and positive energy to the universe. Think of the 6 billion people, the millions of animal species, plant life, as well as this planet that has sustained you your whole life; send your love to all of them.
2. Pray for people who are going through difficult times.
3. Donate stationery/books or other knowledge resources to underprivileged children or an orphanage, regularly.
4. The next time you go shopping, be mindful to buy only what you need.
5. In every sphere of life, practice giving more than what you take, and producing more than what you consume. If you receive love from 10 people, give love to at least 11 people.
6. Before making any decision, think seriously about how it will affect others around you.
7. Spread positivity – smile often, compliment freely, give someone a pat on the back.
8. Use cruelty-free products, i.e. products that are not tested on animals, fair-trade products, etc. Check if the brands you buy from uphold ethical practices.
9. Travel to understand and appreciate the different cultures in your country, and in the world. (If travel is not possible, read about different cultures around the world.)
10. In your own family/workplace/neighbourhood, work towards a win-win situation for everyone, with a vision of totality rather than one of self-importance.
Slowly expand yourself to everything around you in this way. Your joy will break every known boundary and reach new heights.
(Excerpted from the book Transforming Indians to Tranform India; A Chinmaya Mission Initiative)