Occupy Your Life
This year has been a time of change and protest around the world. The protestors involved in the so called “Arab Spring” facilitated the toppling of the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan regimes, and have made significant impacts on numerous other Arab countries. During the past few weeks the various news sources, social media sites, and blogs have been abuzz with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that began in the Wall Street district of New York City, and has subsequently spread to various cities across the U.S. Like the protestors involved in the Arab Spring, the Occupy protestors are standing up against the status quo in order to protest for change. One thing that has struck from all the protests, both from the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, is the passion and resolve displayed by the protestors in order to bring about change.
So passionate are the protestors that they have put their lives on hold, and even completely changed the direction of their life in order to protest for change. In the case of the Arab Spring, those protestors quite literally put their lives, and the lives of their families at risk. However, given Oakland California’s recent heavy-handed response to the protestors, it appears that the protestors from the Occupy movement are not immune from the risk of physical harm, and even death.
The way that all of the protestors have been willing to completely give up the life they knew in order to pursue a cause they believed in reminded me of several religious and political leaders including: The Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to just name a few.
Too often, we simply go through life, and fail to pursue causes that are important to us rather they be personal, spiritual, political, or socioeconomic. Too often we become content with the way things are, instead of standing up in order to pursue changes. The world has been shaped by the people that pursued the things that truly mattered to them. The Buddha was a prince, who left a life of luxury to pursue the spiritual path. Jesus shunned the material world for the “Kingdom of Heaven”, and commanded that his followers do the same. Muhammad was a successful merchant before he left that world behind, and risked his life, to spread the teachings of Islam. Gandhi was a well educated lawyer, who left behind his career in order to fight for Indian independence. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a preacher and civil rights activist whose life was taken by an assassin’s bullet as he fought for civil rights, equality, and peace.
While I am not advocating that everyone should walk out and join a protest, I am advocating becoming passionate about your life, and pursuing the things that are important to you, just as the aforementioned people did. If you are passionate about a cause for change, actively support that cause. If you believe that political or socioeconomic change is necessary, then don’t be afraid to have your voice heard. If you are passionate about becoming a better person, a better spouse, a better parent, or a better ______, then be the best ______ you can be, and actively seek to improve yourself in that regard. If you want to become a healthier person, then pursue the necessary lifestyle. If you want to pursue a particular religious/spiritual path, then by all means pursue it. In the end the only person that is stopping you from living the life you want to live is you. Also, as evidenced by the dramatic changes seen this year, you have the power to not only change yourself, but those around you, and even the world.
Practical Tip: Identify things that you are passionate about which can be your hobbies, your religious/spiritual path, education, self-improvement, political/socioeconomic causes, or just living the best life you can. After you identify the areas that you are passionate about, actively pursue your passions. By pursuing your passions, you can live a more happy and fulfilled life, because instead of grumbling about the way things are, or wishing that ____ would change, you can live the life that you want to live.
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Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)