I’ve often been struck by the idea that all the suffering in the world, all the world’s problems and deficits and cruelties are exactly equal in might and force to the love, the gifts, the talents, latent in all the world’s inhabitants.
In this way, the world is perfectly balanced: The sum of global pain is equal to our collective capacity for love. The deficit of goodness in the external world is equal to the power we hold within to create good.
Every need can be met. Every wound can be healed. Every pain can be soothed, but only if each of us uses our capacity for good fully.
In practical terms, of course, each of us can’t work on every issue. We can’t even learn about every issue. But we can begin to use our capacity for good more fully. Here are six ways to begin:

  1. Let the pain in. Open your heart to the pain of the world. We all have an instinct in us to avoid it, to turn away from the disturbing news, to shield ourselves from feeling tragedy. Instead, open your heart to the pain. Breathe it in. Feel it. Be present to it — not to get caught in drama or sadness, but to fuel action.
  2. Do small acts with great love, every day. Create a daily giving practice. Give something every day: money, time, assistance, or a heartfelt thank you or compliment. Keep a journal where you record your act of giving at the end of the day. Writing it down (and realizing when you’ve forgotten to do the practice) will help you integrate this habit into your life.
  3. Pick a cause to pour your time, money and energies to, over the long-term. Select something that moves you, something that you sense is the work you are called to do in the world.
  4. Be a light at work. As a coach, I often speak with clients who feel their work because is meaningless because they work at a company that’s “just about the money.” But as business scandal after business scandal shows us, these environments need ethical, service-focused, loving human beings desperately—perhaps more than anywhere else. If you work in one of those places, you have the opportunity to make a tremendous difference. Decide to be a light at work, through your kindness to coworkers and customers, by refraining from gossip, by helping to build bridges or resolve conflict when needed. Watch the ripple effects, and notice how it makes work more interesting and energizing for you, too.
  5. See what love-assignments life gives you. Life brings us little love-assignments in the form of the suffering that show up in our midst. Is there a need in your neighborhood, at your school, in your workplace, that is touching a place within your heart? You don’t have to solve the problem, but you can make a tremendous difference by offering your support, love, solidarity, skills, time, companionship, or a material gift. Notice what assignments life is giving you, and step up.

Yes, the world is full of suffering. Full of it. And we are full of the medicine that heals it.
Are you meeting the world with your full capacity for love?

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • uzma7 says:

    You’re so right. We can’t change everything but we can set off small ripples. Thank u for this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alexis says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I posted this on my FB wall to spread the love.

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thanks Alexis. That’s so nice to hear – so glad you shared this with others!
    Love, Tara

  • regina says:

    Gorgeous post, my dear. I love the way you think and articulate your insights and heart to the word, to us… to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thank you Uzma! I’m so glad this resonated with you and am so appreciative of all the warm words you’ve been sharing at Wise Living.
    Love, Tara

  • regina says:

    To the “world” that is. Not meant to read “word”… but maybe that, too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Marika says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes,Yes,Yes….all 5 ways to Give are wonderful reminders for us all. Someone asked me the other day what my latest “love project” was. The words resonated deeply and put a smile on my face. May we all fill our lives with “love-assignments.”Thank you, Tara.

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thank you! Adore that idea of a “love-project” – how fabulous. We should all have one (at least!) at all times.
    Love, Tara

  • Hey Tara,

    I have a more business approach to giving which I think is very useful in the long run: give to yourself first, develop yourself and your capacity to help, then use them to give to others. You can give a lot more this way.

  • uzma7 says:

    My pleasure. Looking forward to reading more ๐Ÿ™‚

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thank you Regina, I’m touched by your words!
    Love, Tara

  • sophiashouse says:

    I think the divisions between giving to ourselves and giving to others are very loose….true giving gives a lot back to the giver.

  • YES! This rings so true and brought tears to my eyes, Tara. I am so easily overwhelmed by all of the pain – I have stopped reading/watching the news, but you inspire me to let it in and also to remember what a difference I can make. Happy Solstice, dear friend!

  • I love what you said about being a light at work. I’ve never actually thought about it this way. It seems a bit heartbreaking to work for a company that lacks ethics, but it is empowering to see yourself as a much-needed positive influence within an otherwise dark environment.

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thanks so much Nea. So true – we can reframe a lot of tough environments in this way and find inspiration and energy around being a force for good there! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  • Dia says:

    Hi Tara,

    Very nice post! If we think positively and try to give and help others, more good things will come our way. I liked you list a lot. Thanks for sharing

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