(Note: Swami Snehananda Jyoti, spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'. He has established three EWA centres – St Louis, Munnar and Kanya kumari. Through this article he says that it is our atttitude that decides everything. He asks us to change our worldview and thus change the world itself. Joseph Mattappally- asso.editor)
One’s worldview relates to the entire spectrum of one’s life, decisions, activities, and relationships. More specifically, it involves how one relates to other human beings and the entire environment. As the New Year, 2016, is fast approaching it is important to carefully examine one’s worldview. The worldview of some critical persons in history affected the course of the world for the good or the bad. The case in point is: the life and decisions of Mahatma Gandhi changed the world for the better; on the other hand, the decisions of Adolf Hitler changed the world for the worse. One’s worldview guides one’s resolutions and decisions. Whether conscious or not, each one has a worldview that affects the world we live in. In an increasingly consumerist and competitive culture, where impressions rather than substance matter, and where the strong swallows the weak, our decisions matter. Below is a sample worldview that one can look at in terms of where one is with regard to one’s own worldview and approach to life.
A sample worldview: I think of this world as one enormous ship where everyone’s life and behavior affect everyone else, and everyone’s fortune depends on everyone else. I like to think of everyone as good and trustworthy unless proved to be otherwise. As I choose to trust others, I am aware there may be betrayals of trust, and in fact there have been a few serious ones, for sure, even from the most unexpected quarters. But I take these grave betrayals as the very expensive fee I paid for the precious learning I got about humanity in the real university of life. I course through life as I discern my program for life, undiminished and without embitterment, while taking calculated and bearable risks. When persons lie, it is their problem, and I do not want to make their problem my problem. But I have duty to be more and more aware and prudent after discernment. I continue to choose to trust as distrust and cynicism are not life-giving. I find for myself this is the only way I can grow and develop and become all that I can be and called to be by the Cosmos. I need to be very careful with my words as I need to stand behind every statement I make in truth in whatever part of the world I am.
My focus is on changing myself as I cannot change others. When I change for the better, the world automatically changes as I am an integral, though one of over seven billion persons, part of this world. It is not important if I am approved by others or if I leave a mark on this world. I am in this world only to play my unique part, however significant or insignificant. As the great poet, John Milton said: “They also serve who only stand and wait”. I do not consider anyone to be big or small. Unprogrammed before birth, all begin to be programmed from the moment of birth, and play their destined parts in life. All are children of this great universe, children of God. Their gender, race, religion, and nationality are accidents of history and/or human decision. All that we have in common is our humanity, and that we need to respect with all its rights and diversity. Ours is not to judge but to do what is right for us as it is communicated to us through our reasonably well-formed conscience.
If we cannot enhance, at least we should not diminish anyone. That is the least. On the other hand, there is no limit to what we can do for others materially, psychologically, or spiritually. There is more joy in giving than in receiving. An attitude of gratitude, great tolerance for others, and giving everybody the benefit of his her doubt are powerful catalysts that work wonders for all. Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu (Let the whole world be well and happy).