I don’t have the luxury of doubt. That is the phrase that keeps coming to me over and over again recently. I don’t have the luxury of doubt.
It came up first in relation to the aftermath of the typhoon that struck the Philippines. I felt helpless, I felt impotent, I felt frustrated. All I could do was host a meditation and invite people to join me in sending peace and love to those in need in the Philippines. There was the part of my mind that whispered, “How will that help? They need food and water and shelter. Your love and peace won’t reach them or help them.” Luckily, I listened to my heart, which gently said to my mind, “I no longer have the luxury of doubt.” I knew the truth of it as soon as the thought appeared. We have reached a point where the automatic, deeply ingrained doubt has to become irrelevant. Doubting that we are all made of the same stuff, despite where we live, how we worship or the color of our skin. Doubting that we have been poor stewards of this earth and have not done irrevocable damage to it. Doubting that an act of kindness can change a life. Doubting that one person can change the course of history – one woman remaining seated on a bus leaves no room for that doubt. Doubting that I am connected to you and that what I do impacts not only you, but the entire universe.
Why is it that I can no longer doubt these things? I simply can’t live with the consequences if there is even the slightest chance that they are true and I don’t live that truth. I can’t live with the consequences of my act of unkindness touching the whole universe with unkindness. I can’t live with the consequences of my choices in my relationship with our natural resources that I see reflected in the eyes of those in the Philippines. I can’t live with the consequences on the course of history if I choose to stand up and move to the back of the bus, when I can take a stand by sitting. I can’t live with the consequences of doubting my love and peace can reach out across the world and touch another if it might leave someone in despair. I can’t live with that.
Throughout this I understand that I was born into a life where I do have the luxury of choices and that there are those who were born into circumstances in which their choices seem much more limited or even non-existent. It is for that very reason that my choices are so important. Will I make them holding the vision of us all as one? Or will I make them holding a more self-focused vision? Will I take the luxuries I do have for granted and so squander them?
I will not give myself that luxury. Instead, no matter whether or not you doubt me and my intelligence or wonder whether I am genuine, I will focus on sending what love and peace I have to offer to those who might need it. I will take a deeper look at my relationship with our precious resources. I will pause and choose kindness over unkindness. I will look another in the eye and know that we are one and that what I do or say to him or her; I do and say to myself, to you, to my children, to my loved ones, to all. I will love the universe with all the love I have to offer and live in wonder of the beauty that it is. I will live with peace as best I can in each moment. I will do all this knowing that I am imperfect and so may live it imperfectly. However, if there is even the smallest chance that one of those choices will change our course for the better, then I don’t have the luxury of doubt.