Still, the thought gave me pause to reflect that the first years of this still new century have not augured well for the progress of humanity--if, by progress, we mean not further economic growth and technological advances but rather movement toward greater happiness for all. It seems that while we are busy marching forward in the former direction, we take just as many steps backward in the latter.
So I have a wish for our human species in the coming year, the second of the second decade of the twenty-first century--and those, let's remember, are only a small handful of the centuries we have been able to count, let alone those eons that passed for our species before counting began! My wish is for greater harmony between us all; for greater compassion, greater understanding, greater tolerance, greater love.
Oh, I know. It's a hoary old wish, and one that is frequently scoffed at by cynics as some kind of sentimental dream. But I'm with John Lennon: I hope some day the scoffers will join us, "and the world will be as one." And I do dare to sense, behind or beneath all the rupture and rage and desperation we are experiencing in the world today, the glimmer of an understanding in the human consciousness that we cannot persist in our current behaviors without wrecking the only planet we have--the planet that we share with countless other beings, great, and small, and miniscule.
Something, somewhere in the depths of consciousness, I am convinced, is shifting. We have evolved and survived thus far, as a species. Surely our minds are capable of further evolution, of further adaptation to ensure the survival of us all. Perhaps, rather than the global caliphate that some are seeking, we will evolve toward a global sangha, a community of humankind where we are all, yes, kind; and where the guiding force will be the ultimate message of the dharma: compassion for all beings. This is my wish.
So... Happy New Year, everybody! May all living beings find true happiness in their lives. May all living beings be free from stress and pain. May all living beings be free from trouble. May all share in the blessings of a life well lived.