Sell my car and move to a big city means that now drive the bus and metro. The next morning, still half asleep , I greet my fellow commuters in the noise and bustle of public transport. For many people , this would be an everyday occurrence that does not incite much thought and contemplation. But for me, the commute in the morning are very different.
As I look around the long , pale faces of people , bags under the eyes, heads buried in their iPhones, three emotions wash over me. Sadness, then anger, then love .
Let’s start with # 1 emotion . I feel sad because one of my fellow commuters seems happy . Every single person seems to be afraid wherever they go . Want to learn more sleep, more time with family and friends and less time on the train. They use their phones to distract from the fact that they are dissatisfied with their lives . Of course , they are comfortable . They make enough money and what some would call a ” good life ” , but they are unhappy. What I really want to do on Monday morning is the practice with their band or working on a novel or hug their children.
This is the part where I get angry . Why ?
because I think it is a grave injustice to humanity that many of us live this way.
Some people get riled up about world hunger or saving the environment or poverty. For some reason , I was put on this earth to get riled up on the morning commute and all that it represents. My question is : Why do most of us live this way? Why spend the time each day to jobs that we hate when our souls are begging to do otherwise ?
Many say it is a question of money . If you do not work , you can not live . And while I agree that it can be financially difficult to follow an alternative route (trust me , I’ve done and are still doing ! ) Is it really better to have money, but be unhappy? What if we tried to live more simply ? Instead of continuing to accumulate stuff , we could live with less and feel like we have more . Smaller House. Fewer cars . Brands not. More love . Great passion . Greater satisfaction.
I wonder what the world would be like if, instead of worshiping the nine to five , all of us actually did what our souls are asking us to do
Or, if you do not know what our souls are asking us to do , we spent time figuring out the answer. It ‘ possible that humanity could also be longer than what we have now ? Maybe we would have cured cancer by now because the first-year medical student who began school with a passion for helping others have not abandoned based on feel too much pressure to perform academically . Perhaps the American people do not suffer astronomical price of mental illness, obesity and a host of other problems because people would not hesitate .
I think we , as a species , we have made incredible progress and innovation. But I also believe that we have focused too heavily on our scientific and technological evolution .
We must begin to pay less attention to the evolution of our gadgets and more attention to the evolution of our souls.
So many of us walk around in a fog, just trying to get through the day -to-day details of our lives , that we never stop to ask, ” Why am I doing this ” ” Like what am I doing? ‘ ” This work to bring out my highest good ? ” ” This work helps me to serve myself and the world ? “
I’m reading a biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson that I find absolutely fascinating. Emerson lived during the 1800s, before TV, PC , iPhone, and had the opportunity to take so much of everyone’s time . So, what did Emerson during his free time? Lesse . And read voraciously. He studied Plato , Kant, Hume, Wordsworth, Coleridge , Goethe, Marcus Aurelius, Herschel , and more. He read philosophy, poetry , science , religion and everything else. It has come to start a movement that some consider ” Intellectual Declaration of Independence ” of America . Importantly , Emerson began , like many young people, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a minister . Emerson went to Harvard Divinity School and has had success as a preacher . But eventually left the Church – the disappointment of his family – because his soul was asking him to do something different .
What happens if Emerson had not had the courage to leave his comfortable life ? What if Gandhi had decided to continue to pursue the profession of lawyer on a small scale ? If Leonardo da Vinci had never finished the Mona Lisa ? And if Nelson Mandela had stopped sharing his message, because he was afraid of going to jail ? And if Rosa Parks had moved to the back of the bus ?
My point here is that to live a life that is faithful takes courage . It requires constant checking in with your soul. It often requires you to leave a life that feels at ease throughout your life that you feel fear. This is how real change happens in the world – we change ourselves first . Thomas Carlyle said ,
” to reform a world , to reform a nation , no wise man to undertake. Knowing all men, but fools , that only solid , even if the reform much slower, is what each begins and perfects it. ”
How many other Gandhi, Mandela and parks would be if more of us were paying attention to what we were put on this earth to do? Your goal might be something not as big as cancer care or leader of a revolution , but perhaps your decision to stay at home to raise the family means that your son or daughter becomes love , attention and trust of they need to one day go on to lead a revolution.
This brings me to the third feeling that I feel often during my morning commute : love. After that I felt sad and angry, just love begins to pour through me. Look tenderly roommate in college who is stressing to take an exam to get a diploma that her parents are under pressure across Europe , however, is that what you really want to do . I want to embrace the ‘ middle-aged man who is glued to her phone to capture the latest stock market numbers . I smile a working mother who is trying to reach his son in pre-school time so that you can do to work from 8 : 0 to deliver a great presentation .
At this point , part of me wants to break out in a sort of dance flash mob or a lesson in which I inspire people to spend the day doing something that makes their souls sing. Strains exams and presentations. Life is too short. And I can assure you that if , at that time, our train was to clash with another , none of these people would think , Wall Street or school work.
so my question is this: What compromising your soul ? what is the gift that you have been dying to share with the world ? Do not underestimate your gifts . You will need – no matter how trivial it may seem to you now.
As for me, I’m on a journey that involves listening to my soul and do what you ask , no matter how frightening or difficult. I invite you to do the same.