It’s monsooning in Devon and I’m on the train from Totnes to Bristol to catch a flight back to Dublin. I’ve just spent the most amazing week on a course with American social philosopher/revolutionary Charles Eisenstein author of The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. The lady beside me asks me where I’ve been. Still bursting with enthusiasm and excitement about all the wonderful ideas and people I’ve just encountered, I give it my best shot, the nutshell version of The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, edited slightly for the less utopianly inclined.
Charles Eisenstein suggests that we as individuals can in times of great social change or crisis make the world a better place by small but powerful acts. These everyday acts of courage and kindness, these apparently small personal choices bear unsuspected transformational power and are exactly how we become more effective agents of change and have a stronger positive influence on the world.
I’m half expecting a lukewarm reception for my goody two shoes ramblings but am instead met with the most lovely: ‘I know exactly what you’re talking about!’ My fellow traveller tells me how time she spent in Peru, where people had so little materially, changed forever her views on western consumerism and what gives our lives meaning and value. She tells me about a friend’s recent trip to India and how that woman’s life too has changed forever as she was confronted with how much we have and how little we appreciate and truly enjoy. We talk about minimalism and our western obsession with exchanging meaningless but often expensive gifts and how much more magical it is to give experiences or share quality time with your friends. Our imaginations run riot for a while as we swop fun examples and suggestions about how to do this. We agree that it is the little ordinary exchanges that most enrich our lives on a day to day basis and there are cries of ‘me too’ from both of us as we trade stories.
Concerns that I might have been seen as proselytising for a more beautiful world fade away because there was no need to, my new companion was already on the job, big time! Maybe more of us are, than we realise, we just need to remind each other and enthuse each other.
I’ll let this quote from Charles Eisenstein elaborate on the idea:
‘A friend recently asked me, “if it is true that we live at a unique juncture in the planet’s history, when all great beings have gathered for the crucial moment of humanity’s birthing, then why do we not see the great avatars and miracle-workers of yesteryear?” My answer was that they are here, but they are working behind the scenes. One of them might be a nurse, a garbage man, a kindergarten teacher. They don’t do anything big or public, nothing that, through our eyes, looks like it is generating the miracles necessary to save our world. Our eyes deceive us. These people are holding the fabric of the world together. They are holding the space for the rest of us to step into. To do the big, public things is important, requiring all our gifts of courage and genius, but it requires not nearly the faith and solidity in the ground of interbeing as the invisible, humble actions of people like those kindergarten teachers.
So, whatever your reasons for choosing to do great things or small, do not let them be the urgent, fearful belief that only the big, public things have any chance of influencing the masses and saving the world.’
For more info on Charles Eisenstein see: