This is a narrative of people who relearned harmony - A Re-Awakening from with-in. These musings of a dreamer could be a historic account fifty years from now! Dedicated to a land that was great in her ancient past, very wobbly in her recent past, improving but still a wobbly wheel at present but with a glimmer of hope in the future! Perhaps this story can be applied wholly or in part to any land or society you dream to apply these principles to…
Long ago there roamed on the earth a great set of people, who knew what it was to live in harmony. They knew that each was not the wheel but a cog of the wheel… and by turning together they turned the wheel. They lived with this understanding; no one felt the need to steal for no one knew what it meant. To steal would mean to take from the wheel and then the wheel would not turn; they each knew to do their part and accept what came as a result.
They were content and happy! They improved things and supported individuals who excelled too. They knew that such a society would thrive and be vibrant.
Alas a few hundred (may be a few thousand) years ago, some sort of disharmony set in! And many got lost trying to find their rhythm… they wasted their early years trying very many things and chasing paths that perhaps would not have been ideal; still looking back they could learn from it – but they knew that not. Unfortunately due to the inner weakness of some monarchs in the past, this land got invaded several times and suffered at the hands of ruthless invaders and then got taken by colonial powers. A hard won freedom followed by bad policies of the government in power such as a policy of appeasement made the so called freedom still a "freedom" only by name and not in spirit. In the recent past; people, who were provided with the opportunity to serve, started acting like it was their right to rule. They demanded things just because they held a seat. And the people who lived in harmony lost something… they lost a few gears on the giant wheel. The wheel wobbled. Each was “on their own”; each had to fend for themselves. In some ways, this made some realize they had to contribute individually for success and in a sense the competition geared them ahead.
The so called leaders of society continued their ways to enrich themselves based on their position of power. Not understanding that to serve was their duty and a privilege; they kept harassing common folk to pay up for services in forms other than the taxes and official fees the common folk already paid. Each day, living became a nightmare for many. At some point, this distorted way of living actually became the norm.
Everyone looked for the one leader perhaps; the one who would sacrifice all and create harmony again. A few showed up – ripples of harmony showed its head up. Raising awareness amidst all that they could see the light at the end of the tunnel; with the hope that it was not another train headed their way! But the stink was too much for some perfume to do the deal… the odor could not be rectified by wiping a few places.
Many intellectuals were too busy in other ways, they knew the problems. They even knew the solutions and thankfully some of them spoke of these freely. But the will to act against the mislead leaders and to bring positive change was missing. “How to do it without getting affected ourselves?!”, so thought these intellectuals. Many business people tried to keep afloat – they too felt the brunt of the mislead leaders; but quietly paid the ransom demanded… to keep their game going. Some business people got in cohorts with the public officials and created an unhealthy symbiosis which was its very anti-thesis for the general population!
Things improved on some fronts, the bright industriousness of the people got them work from other lands. Some thrived, many still starved. The wheel was now turning back and forth. There were many good people who could do more perhaps, but some were too afraid to raise their voice, some too indifferent to care, and some were inure to this and felt a sense of hopelessness to fix the wobbly wheel – so they just wobbled along and found ways to “adjust” to the system! Most were so busy with their own life anyways, that they did not have time to even look at the plight of their fellow beings.
In a mysterious way, though the awareness kept increasing. People slowly started realizing that it is okay to enjoy the fruits of labor that one deservedly gets; and on the contrary it is not so fun to enjoy something that came to them undeserved. This seed of self respect started entering the minds of some people … and they started helping their fellow beings with a spirit of service and sacrifice. These were one-off kind of acts – random acts of kindness if you will. But these were the seeds of harmony. These were the unknown, unspoken harbingers of a future where life got to a kind of normalcy that was also exciting! They had a long way to go; lots of people still did not have the basic needs they needed, before they could think more lofty thoughts. But there was hope in some… hope that a collective consciousness will pervade in all to egg them on to the harmony that once prevailed. This was not an end; but the beginning of a new era – like the good old times, awake and alive!
A beginning so subtle that the “Naysayers” did not notice! New tools appeared that connected people; new ways to interact and freely share ideas. And people of this land and many such lands realized that all over the world people are similar in more ways than different. The walls that they had imagined were exactly that; they were walls of imagination! The world is one family which includes humans and all other life forms… it is an interdependent family. It is a fine balance of individuals working for a place in society while at the same time it is people teaming up to reach a common goal. It is the fabric of life – a yin and yang of sorts, it is tension and relaxation; each has to find the time and place to reach out or let go! People realized that an orchestra had to be played, by players who did not know they were the players. Each perhaps thought that someone else would pick up and play but each realized they had to play too! Such was the collective awareness that came onto people.
Schools and colleges were built; trade, business and dignified labor were encouraged. People were encouraged to choose a profession/ training based on their inherent talents and aptitude! Society found the balance between merit based competition and in cases of people struggling socially/ or economically providing need based opportunities for improvement.
Free thinking and sharing information without the fear of retribution started to surface... At least it started happening. Each person started trying to figure out what was the best way to live their life to the fullest. What was the best they could offer society. People started thinking of individual balance… some found ways to eat by doing dignified work, some found ways to mend their ways – yes, even the mislead leaders did! People found balance on both the material and spiritual dimensions; they learned to enjoy life here and now. To each person their pursuit of happiness became a journey willingly taken; pleasure or pain that came across became the events to be savored in the journey!
It took time and patience. It took compassionate sacrifice by many eventually (though it started as ideas in a few); and the refusal of the public to empower the mislead leaders. The common folk stopped paying “extra” to the officials; they started electing the leaders who deemed to serve and a positive spiral began. Not obvious at first but it began; it began as a thought in a few and then translated to deeds of small valor that translated to a sea of change in the end… it was not an easy journey as the ones who felt they were entitled for power, often felt the ones who elected them were powerless. So the common folk and those who spoke against corrupt entities had to face the brunt of their wrath. Bold thoughts were needed, strategies were needed and there was need for brave action!
Some (and then many) good people came up to stand for office and took upon themselves to serve the people. In the beginning it took one or two people with courage and wisdom to step up and contest in local elections; and they won. This gave confidence to many others and soon good, courageous, wise, honest and skilled people contested at all levels of Government with the sole goal to serve the public. People did not join politics for money – on the contrary they joined to serve others because they got an inner desire to create positive change.
Strong people joined the army to protect and defend the land and her people. People realized that though non-violence is the general rule of thumb, one should not hesitate to defend them-selves nor be unprepared in case they were attacked. The people of this land would never plunder or pillage… but if someone else tried to plunder them or pillage their villages and towns, the people of this land will fight the intruders to protect their lot. Like the blind man who held a lamp on his hand for others to see, the nation must maintain an army to protect and warn against attacks. The spirit is bigger than the mind, the mind is bigger than the body but when it comes to the world, while love for all is the noble aspiration but undue meekness could be detrimental. So the people of this land learned to never intend harm to others but always maintained an army for self defense.
Laws were passed to be fair and equitable; and the people lived with a sense of justice in a land of harmony again! Laws were also executed to maintain order and justice while respecting the individual freedoms of people. While people were free to follow any faith or no faith; no one was above the law. True secularism – one that respects religious freedom and at the same time plays no favor to any special group was the new norm! The people upholding the law did not feel the need to stoop to low levels of passing judgment based on favors of any sort nor would the law let those that did go unquestioned! As much as it is an individual value to not judge anyone, it is a collective need to ensure that people in judiciary positions themselves do not become corrupt. No more were laws just in the name of the letter and not in spirit… an evolution happened where the law was just and equable; the law was fair and open to positive modification (after due consideration) as human thought on an issue evolved and the greater good was always considered, discussed and enacted as law.
Harmony lost was gained back… harmoniously!
This story sounds too easy perhaps, too simplistic. Perhaps it looks like a dream to some and a day-dream to many. But if nothing else, better to dare to dream than just be dreadful. Better to live life standing for something and being awake.
When a person in a nightmare wakes up; it does not happen at once; they have to move a finger first! Then they can move their eye-lids!
Dreams can come true when thought is synchronized across many minds… thoughts become reality through practical acts of bravery small and big; by many.
Yes, it has happened before and can happen again! Is this history you want to read about years from now? Then build a consciousness of standing for a fair and just society, wherever you are! The ideas will come, fear will be overcome, the right action will be taken and harmony will be rediscovered!