On retreat in Thailand, the morning chanting ends with familiar words that still reverberate deeply …
May all beings, comrades in birth, aging, illness, and death,
Be well and happy, without enmity and malice,
Be well and happy, without selfishness and harm,
Be well and happy, without bodily pain and mental anguish,
Be well and happy in body and mind,
preserving ourselves from all sufferings and dangers.
This must be the way forward for our species if we are to escape from our vicious cycles of violence and destruction; of atrocities in the name of economic growth, religion, and sovereignty; of banal greed, hatred, and delusion; of fear and self-centeredness. The biosphere has just about had enough and the climate is paying back. Do we descend into even worse greed, hatred, fear, and confusion? Or do we stop blaming and start helping each other out of this dire predicament?
Only when we are sufficiently well and happy and at peace with ourselves will we stop chasing the superficialities we mistake for meaningful happiness.