The time has come wrote my dear friend A in reply to one of my sombre mails; if ever, this is not the time to despair he added. Strange words at a time when the world economy is collapsing. But A goes on undaunted:We have reached the end of An Age. The next one is here. The world is about to move into a system where Human value will be he currency. What if you could buy education for compassion or two meals a day for making someone happy! Have fun this festival - the world has woken up after a slumber of 40 odd years - light up the world with your Unique Value - and Welcome to The Age of Imagination.
Don't smile or smirk. These words are imbued with meaning and wisdom. They are almost prophetic. It is time we saw the reality of things instead of beating a dead horse and finding solace in ways that have proved time and again to be worthless. Human values have been too long sacrificed at the alter of material ones fuelled by greed, want and cupidity. Our world is not a pretty one even though we would want to believe otherwise. It may be big and fat but it is not beautiful. I do not know if one can truly at this moment begin to imagine a world where values would be extolled above all else; our age has simply done away with them.
As I wrote earlier perhaps it is not the right time to write about compassion and other lofty ideals as we sit perusing the stock market and counting our losses. Or perhaps it is. What betteer time than this to garner the courage to look deeper within ourselves in order to find solace and strength. The tiny seeds of compassion and forgiveness and love lie patiently waiting to be watered. Maybe it is time to practice mindfulness as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh and learn to live in the present and be grateful for all that we have. It is also time to seek values that would hold true and be lasting and learn to draw solace and joy from he simple things we have forgotten.
Two meals a day for making someone happy is not as Utopian as it may seem. How long as it been since you have truly made someone happy, and by someone I do not mean a near and dear one but an outsider, one you did not know, one you did not expect anything from. How long has it bee since you have stopped and looked around you, listened to the sound of birds chirping or felt the caress of the passing wind. How long has it been since you have held the hand of a unknown child and walked a few steps with him. How long as it been since you have felt compassion for others and also for your self. There was a time not so long ago where I too felt the need to run helter skelter after material things that I felt I needed. But strangely one I had them I felt the aching need to look for newer ones till the fateful day I met Manu and my life changed.
Today no matter how grim the newspapers headlines are or how hard things I set out to work with a spring in my walk. I do not know what awaits me but I know that there always be something that will bring a smile to my face and warm the cockles of my heart. Oh they are intangible things, the kind you normally pass by. It can simply that the newcomer in the creche who had been wailing every single day has finally stopped crying, or simply a sound made by one that had till then never spoke. It could be a messy and even ugly painting made by one that could barely hold a brush or a bright pink report card accompanied by a grubby sweat that a young one insists on stuffing into your mouth. These are not things money can buy; these have been achieved by slow and patient work and unwavering belief!
And these are things within the reach of all of us if we take time to stop and look with our hearts.