War and Peace
I was tossing and turning in bed the other day. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t not sleep. So, I was just caught in this no man’s land on the bed where I was just daydreaming about random things. Random thoughts popped into my head. Random thoughts disappeared. I felt like I was wasting time.
Suddenly, I began thinking about some disastrous events. What if there was war in the USA? What if there was civil war? What if this war brought about famine and destruction across the land? What if this famine led to the deaths of millions of people across the country? What if?
This daydreaming session was not ideal to say the least. And a little bit horrifying. What if this were to happen? That would obviously be horrible. And thankfully nothing like that has happened. Thankfully.
I thought about the word thankful. What does it mean to be thankful? Does thankful and grateful mean the same thing? And if so, what exactly does it mean to be grateful? The questions in my mind were endless.
As my stream of thought about pending doom and gloom quickly dissipated, and my mind wandered back into the world of the boring and the mundane, I began to feel a sense of gratitude for everything that was around me. Everything from breathing air, to rolling in my bed with a blanket upon me, to having a roof over my head, seemed like an ideal blessing. It seemed like an absolute blessing, actually.
Things like feeling the fat in my stomach region made me realize that I wasn’t starving. That there was no widespread famine going on in the United States. That yes, I may be a little bit out of shape, but I’m not exactly morbidly obese neither. That I’m not exactly in the middle of a civil war-torn nation. I was well-fed. And for that I am grateful. I am eternally grateful. I am so thankful and so happy and tears should be rolling down my eyes (even though they’re not).
Do we know how lucky we are to be in this situation? We’ve been kind of conditioned to see this as normal. That we are supposed to have enough food on our table. That we are supposed to be financially sound. That we are supposed to have some of the best medical care in the world. We are supposed to have this and that. And because of this feeling of “supposedness”, we kind of take for granted that these things are all temporary. That there is a possibility that some day we may not have this type of luxuries and well-beings in society.
So for that, we should not see things in a supposed light. Like this is supposed to happen. This was just given to us on a silver spoon. A golden platter. If that’s the terminology you’re supposed to call it. We are so blessed to be living in the United States of America. One of the safest nations on Earth. One of the richest nations on Earth. One of the most democratically institutionalized nations on the face of this planet. We should be drowning in gratefulness.
Not drowning per say. But, I hope you get the picture. The fact right now is that I am not living in a war-torn country. I can pay my bills. I have food on the table. I am living in a peaceful society, and have been for my so far 36 years of existence.
There has been no World War II knocking down my door. I don’t have to live with the impending doom of being drafted into the Vietnam War. I’m not fighting against ISIS in the Middle East. I’m none of that.
I live a relatively peaceful war-free life in the comforts of New York City. In a relatively well-off middle class neighborhood. Surrounded by my loving family and friends. I have it all. I am truly blessed to the smallest extent. And that’s what I realized when I was tossing and turning in my bed a couple of weeks ago - seemingly bored out of mind not knowing whether to fall asleep or to just keep on tossing and turning.
It was an epiphany of sorts that kind of just lurched into my head out of blind luck. This realization that I have it all. That in terms of inner wealth, I’m a millionaire. I’ve won the jackpot. I’m a winner by default. And many of us are like that too. Not just me, myself, and I.
I’d go as far as saying that almost everyone that I know is in the same boat as me. We are not living in a war-torn nation, we are not hungry nor famished. We (I hope) have a roof over our heads when we sleep. We are not soaked in the rain and living in homeless shelters on a daily basis. We are okay overall. We are doing not bad. And not bad is good enough. And good enough is a blessing.
Sometimes, it just feels like many people like to complain about the little things in life. Well, they think they are big things, but if you put things in perspective how big can they really be in this grand universe of time? Complaints about relationships. Complaints about finances. Complaints about random pet peeves. The complaints are endless. I’m sure they can be for me as well.
But, if we just take a step back. Self-reflect. Think about how bad things can really be. Think about the war-torn nation in Africa. Think about the hunger and famine ravaging the villages of a third-world country. Think about the diseases that are plaguing these unfortunate areas. Now think about the condition that you are living in right now. How far apart are these two worlds exactly?
So, that innocent night rolling in my bed really made me realize just how good I have it. How much abundance I have in my life. And how much abundance most of us all have in our lives. If we can just take a step back and keep that perspective alive for the long-run, we can live much more fulfilling and peaceful lives for the benefit of society as a whole.
That’s what life is all about.