Did you know you were born at a very important time in history? Yes, you are living at a time that is unique in history. In the textbooks you studied in your school days, you probably remember learning a lot about your own country and a little about the other countries of the world. You read about many wars that were fought and many kingdoms that rose and fell. Maybe you also learned how people moved around the globe, influencing each other in negative and positive ways.
One hundred years from now, however, I believe that historians will look at our time in a very different way. Instead looking at how different countries behaved, I believe historians will ask, “How did humanity as a whole respond to the problems of the twenty-first century?”
The problems we face now are not the same as the ones people faced in previous generations. Our problems are global in nature, not national or regional. Thus, to solve these problems, we need a global mindset that allows us to work together
as earth citizens
of the global community. As famed physicist Albert Einstein said, “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
I believe we need to develop what I call an “earth management mindset,” which will allow us to think in new ways to address our shared problems. Here are some ways you can develop your earth management mindset:
- • Don’t wait for opportunities; make them. Many people are quite aware that we are facing serious problems, such as environmental degradation and an epidemic of mental illness in urban centers. Yet, so few take action, instead hoping that someone in charge will take the lead. Look deep inside yourself and ask yourself what you would like to do to help the planet and humanity. Then, set your visions and do it! Even if you are not sure how it can be done, take your first step and watch how other opportunities open before you.
• Develop a generous spirit of forgiveness. If humanity is to thrive in the twenty-first century, we must grow beyond our limiting labels of nationalities, races, classes, and ethnicities. Let go of unresolved resentments and forgive others, even if there is a history of injustice between another group and your own, or between some other individual and yourself. Of course, immediate injustices must be rectified, but give up the need for revenge. Humanity must grow to a new level of consciousness, and this cannot happen if our minds are busy recycling the past.
• View everyone around you as a fellow earth human and a diving being. To grow beyond ethnocentric and individualistic mindsets, we must be able to see the true selves of the people with whom we interact. This means seeing the beautiful soul that resides within the bodily package, beyond race, gender, or ethnicity. Even if a person’s behavior is less than perfect, he or she is a divine being who should be treated accordingly. Coexistence is not just a nice ideal anymore; it is a necessity for the planet and for humanity.
• Dedicate yourself to self-cultivation. One of the people I admire from history is Benjamin Franklin because he was dedicated to developing and refining his own character. Every day, he would check himself for adherence to virtues that he wanted to embody, such as temperance and frugality. Sometimes, he would not live up to his ideals perfectly, but he would always try harder next time, and he became a great leader as a result. Try to come up with a similar way to check yourself, always seeking to make yourself better and better. After all, the best way to change the world is to start with yourself.
• Think seven generations ahead. Living as an earth manager means thinking beyond your individualistic desires so that the entire earth human community is considered. This even means thinking of people who are not yet born. We need to save the earth not just for ourselves, but for people living hundreds of years from today. The indigenous American tribe the Iroquois follow what they call the “great law” of seven generations. According to this principle, any decision made today should not only be of benefit to those living today; it must be beneficial for seven generations to come. If we were to live with this mindset, it would be very easy to live in harmony with the earth and with others.
• Live for completion of your soul. A lot of our current problems exist because our modern cultures emphasize material wealth and the attainment of social status. This had its place at one time in our history, allowing many of us to move beyond famine and poverty. If we want to create a truly vibrant and sustainable world, however, we need to have something more valuable at the center of our value system—the soul.
The problems we face today will require a whole new way of being in the world to solve. You could say that the earth is asking us to evolve to a higher state of being, and it is our choice to do so or not. Although the issues we face are daunting, they also offer a tremendous opportunity for the growth of our souls and for a revolution in what it means to be a human on earth. I hope you will join me on this adventure toward a new world and a new humanity.