First, consider the idea that saving the world is not about “stopping” anything (e.g. Stop Poverty, stop cancer, stop violence, etc). The intentions behind stopping something may be good, but it rarely works.
Take the case of 7-11 stores in the 80’s. Certain stores were plagued by gangs who would hang out in front at night. Each night the managers would tell them to go away, and call the police to get them out of there. But inevitably the gangs would return. This would happen constantly, until a store manager shifted his focus away from trying to stop their behavior.
That manager decided to play classical music outside his store at night… Boom. The gangs disappeared on their own volition because they couldn’t stand the music! So by committing to what he really wanted (peace) and by giving up trying to stop behaviors, he solved the problem.
But unfortunately, those who want to save the world see it through the lens of stopping things – End poverty, stop polluting, end war, fight hate, you name it.
Now here’s where it gets interesting…
You might think that solving each of these would require determining all of their individual opposites. But what if they could all be solved at once? What if there is a solution regardless of the problem? What if there is a metaphorical Vitamin C that can ward off sickness, regardless of what kind? What if there’s a way to strengthen the Earth’s immune system such that individual remedies no longer become necessary?
That solution exists…
Nature always seeks a balance. So if we understand what balance holds the world together at every level (physical, social, spiritual, chemical), then we will know what to focus on. The source of the balance can be found in the rule of 3’s. For example, at the physical level we have proton, neutron and electron. At the basic species level we have mother, father, offspring. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. We understand time as past, present and future. We understand language as 1st person (I), second person (you) and third person (he/she). The list goes on and on. We understand the world as balanced units of three.
So what is the unit of three that supersedes them all?
To find this, we can look at one of the first religions in ancient history: Hindusim.
Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are considered the Trimurti – the three aspects of the universal supreme God:
Brahma – Creator
Vishnu – Preserver
Shiva – Destroyer
It’s birth, then life, then death. Create, maintain, destroy.
Anyone who wants to save the world is usually concerned with the destroy part. They are fighting some sort of destructive force in the world. It’s very, very easy to demonize destroyers, because we do not identify with them. Other people are killers and murderers. Other people oppress. Cancer is the problem, not me. But that’s the shadow because the destroyer is in all of us. All we have to do is unpack one of our favorite words to see it:
v. con·sumed, con·sum·ing, con·sumes
1. To take in as food; eat or drink up.
2. a. To expend; use up:
2. b. To purchase (goods or services) for direct use or ownership.
3. To waste; squander.
4. To destroy totally; ravage.
5. To absorb; engross.
We are all constantly destroying through consumption. To consume is literally to destroy. When you take out your trash every week – those bags filled with tons of packaging and waste, and you see every single person in your city doing it constantly. It seems to disappear. It seems to go into the ether, but deep down we each know that every trash bag we take out is a punch to the earth.
But this is NOT an argument to stop consuming. It’s natural. And fighting it won’t fix it.
The way to save the world is to simply take the focus off the consumption and balance it out with the act of creation and preservation.
Creation and preservation will naturally reduce consumption and destruction.
And I mean this in the most simple of ways. I could be watching TV right now (consuming) but instead I’m creating by writing. Does it mean I should never watch TV? No, but look at how much time our population spends watching instead of creating.
How can I be so audacious to suggest that if everyone writes a blog then we’ll save the world? The reason is because the act of creating is a deeply spiritual endeavor that get us in touch with our power to create our own experiences. And when we know that power, that’s when we innovate. That’s when we get ideas. That’s when we come up with solutions, because they don’t come from anger, from hate, from destruction. They come from the sheer energy of feeling truly alive.
Next I’ll share the various ways to get creative, and I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts.