I have a lot to do and it’s late and there are other things I could be doing, like studying or reading a comic book and eating popcorn. I could be sleeping. Or I could be saying, “Thank you!” for all the good in my life. I am still meditating on the idea of our natural state being loving, joyful, and peaceful. There’s much evidence to the contrary, both in me and in the world.
I’m studying history right now and I’m reading about the origins of the Viet Nam War. According to what I’m reading, a series of misunderstandings, technical issues, and lies over an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin gave Lyndon Johnson carte blanche discretion and money to increase our involvement in this war. This war, which was one of the most contentious for our country, cost America the lives of 59,000 soldiers, not to mention what it did to Viet Nam itself. The incident, or the non-incident really (there was no attack on American ships as the Johnson administration claimed, but we still went to war) changed the country. On top of it all, we eventually lost the war anyway.
There’s a lot more to the story, but my point is that a handful of people adversely, very adversely, affected the lives of almost everyone in two countries, because of their ambition, greed, and discontent. It just doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to be evil. We don’t have to hurt others. We don’t even have to be unhappy. Most of us have all we could want or need. We have, literally at our fingertips, the power to change our lives and the lives of others through writing, art, or in an infinite number of ways. There is so much good we could all be doing.
Why are we so afraid? Why are we so angry? Why are we so unhappy? Can we let go of the unhappy incidents of the past? Can we forgive? Can we let go of extremism and all the other isms? (“Ism, ism, ism, ism,” John Lennon sang.)
What do we want? What do we really need? Is it all that hard to get? Could we work harder for it without hurting others? Can we all contribute something to the world instead of taking away? Can we do something to make the world, or at least our part of it, a better place?
Maybe I’m just rambling here, but very few people seem to be really happy. But I think it’s possible. I think we can all be happy and productive and lead meaningful lives and have fun.
I think we can all Get Started and Keep Going. I know I can.