Our Incremental Gestures Have the Power to Change the World

Published on 06-04-2016

With a couple of hours to go before boarding a flight from Los Angeles to Milan recently, I decided to grab a bite in the Emirates lounge knowing dinner was still several hours out. Scoping out a table, I noticed three other travelers, each dining solo. Without much thought, squeezing behind one of these diners, I casually asked: “Would you care to join me?”  

Perhaps a bit surprised but more than willing, a lovely gentleman popped up, gathering his plate and wine saying, “Why not?” Looking to my right, my eye caught another lone flyer, and I immediately invited her. Without skipping a beat, the third side of the table was occupied. By then, it was obvious that the last traveler be invited, and so I extended the same invitation. “Oh, it looks a bit crowded” came the reply. Granted these tables were smaller than the usual four-top, but I smiled and said, “There’s always room for one more,” allowing him his reticence, but leaving open the door to change his mind and still save face.  

No more than ten minutes into a lively exchange among the three of us, our fourth showed up, plate and glass in hand, and was seamlessly incorporated into what by now had become a very interesting conversation. Within no more than thirty minutes, we learned of stem cell research in Texas, institutionalized gambling in Italy, raising a challenging Vietnamese teen as a single mother while running a deep-pocketed mutual fund, weddings in NYC, film shoots in the southern Tyrols of Italy, and possibilities of a new world consciousness.

This is “living activism.”  

This is “living transformation.” 

This is doing it.

This is stepping into, embodying and living the idea that we are all one human race, devoid of false barriers and separation.

This is where we create and practice new behaviors that may take us a bit out of our comfort zones, but where the potential rewards are unknown and possibly grand: the opening up of new relationships, connections, cross-pollination of ideas, and just plain joy in the sense of a life more  based on a sense of similarities rather than separateness, on kinship rather than disconnect, and on safety rather than “security.”  (This begs the question: has our relentless drive for ultimate political “security” made any one of us anywhere feel any more “secure?” Or has this been a great and unfortunate co-option of a lovely term that has only kindled a low-level, underlying, non-specific sense of fear and in fact, a complete absence of a sense of safety?)

But I digress…

This, the aforementioned, is where the rubber meets the road.

The numerous wonderful, large-scale endeavors that many of us have either participated in or indeed founded have moved us collectively towards a new world whose vision we all carry within us. They feed us, propel us, inform us with a sense of purpose. They call us. 

The question becomes: How do we take these higher visions and live into them in the small, daily, incremental gestures of our lives? How do we, collectively and individually, move the dial - one degree at a time - so that like a steam ship far out at sea, we make a minor course adjustment and end up at a far different point on the horizon?

Yesterday, I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.

Today, I am wise, so I want to change myself.

Rumi

We do it by making discreet, conscious choices at the most granular of levels that set a new pattern into motion. On an energetic level, these new choices have long term, lasting impact. They are as significant as the great, sweeping acts that have come down through time. My own teacher some forty+ years ago used to say that there was no difference, on a spiritual level, between Ghandi’s leading the salt march and going out of one’s way to help a needy person cross a street, or picking up what had been inadvertently dropped: it was about the intention.  That is the ultimate measure. Each act sends out a vibratory frequency that is felt in the far reaches of the cosmos (the Butterfly Effect). Each has tremendous ripple effects, and one can never know nor underestimate the infinite implications of a conscious act borne of love and good will.

So where has our airport foursome led us so far?  To an impromptu trip to Venice, to possible investments in what seems to be an extremely diligently researched fund, to a trans-Atlantic trip to participate in the annual Science and Non-Duality conference, and surely, to friendships that may long endure.