Stormy days are upon us. These are volatile frightening times. We find ourselves in a global crisis that also hits close to home. Though the proverbial “the world is going to hell in a handbasket,” rings true, we can’t sidle over to the dark side or wring our hands. We have work to do, commitments to keep, conflicts to resolve, relationships to manage and grow, social expectations to satisfy, care, compassion and concern to give, and hope to herald. Each of these requires substance — of heart and mind. The call for innovation, flexibility and adaptation never ends.
So, we put our attention on this substance, its wisdom, its practices and its restraints. And on its call for responsibility, for obligation, for us to be leaders in our relationships, homes and communities. Because it’s obvious to all of us that overcoming today’s crises and achieving a quality, fully human, personally rewarding life depends on having the substance to do the right thing.
Yes, it is complicated. Complex. Never ending. But we can’t quit on it. Every day we must “ask” ourselves to rise to the occasion, to choose, to act, to give hope and meaning to the struggle and to solve the problems that occur in the process. This is how we make it matter that we lived at all.
It’s a fierce challenge because there is nothing inside of us perfectly capable of doing the right thing if we simply make up our minds to do so. Wisdom is hard to find. Harder to acquire. And hardest to stick to because it requires so much nerve and courage. Yet it is to extending the frontiers of our own self-possession that we must obligate ourselves.
It is difficult to get, I think, that doing the right thing is nothing more intrinsically true than a point of view about what’s important. Doing the right thing is not foundational to who we are, unless we make it so. Yes, it’s a potential, one of the choices made possible by human brainpower. But this excellent dimension must be given substance — breadth and depth, then watched closely and protected. This is because it competes with many other options that seem important from the point of view of the ego and the Scoreboard.