As I sit in this seat of relative wealth and privilege, it is easy to take the comfortable aspects of that seat for granted. It is easy to believe that I know more about someone else’s life than they do themselves. It is easy to believe that I have solutions to another person’s hardship that they themselves cannot see or attain. It is easy to believe that my intention to save another from the challenges they face is genuinely selfless.
Beliefs fuel the ideals which inform our choices. But beliefs and ideals that were handed down or picked up during a time of relative innocence or powerlessness result in choices which lead us down an inauthentic path. Regardless of how far we walk down that path, and regardless of our degree of worldly success, enduring fulfillment will continue to elude us and 3 a.m. angst will still threaten to consume us. This lack of fulfillment is a root cause of many global issues including poverty, violence, war, disease, and environmental degradation.
When left unchallenged, ideals give rise to individual and collective “comfort zones”. Those comfort zones interfere with our ability to make compassionately responsible choices which further fuels global hardship. As such, it is imperative at this ripe juncture of evolution that we leverage the vast creativity of our prefrontal cortex to illuminate and examine our own conditioned biases. One immediate and effective way we can do that is by challenging elusive comfort zones.
This can be easier said than done since our limbic system is hard-wired for self-preservation. Often it takes some combination of deep fear and hope before someone willingly steps outside their comfort zone. But when that fear and hope stem from a hotbed of blind biases, the resulting step will likely do as much harm as it does good. A less common reason people willingly step outside their comfort zone is out of genuine curiosity. This alternate reason often yields great insights into the true nature of reality, and effectively illuminates blind biases.
Raising the curtain on my unseen biases, I become humbled by both my arrogance and my innocence. I am now far less likely to sit in judgement of another or take this seat of relative wealth and privilege for granted. Having endured great challenges, I have come to understand and appreciate the powerful way challenges incinerate false precepts. I am now able to arrive in each situation innocent yet wise.
Humble empowerment fosters an authentic path. Bowing to the “unknowns” of a given situation, I embark upon a path of discovery which ultimately reveals new insights about this life that is living me. Revelation is an unending source of fulfillment. Self-fulfilled, my choices now arise from a place of genuine curiosity.
Until we have seen clearly our own biases, we would be unwise to assume we know best how to alleviate someone else’s suffering. Until we have seen clearly the gift woven throughout our own struggles, we would be unwise to try and save another from the challenges they face. But when we have seen clearly the global dysfunction spawned by unexamined ideals, we take our first steps on an authentic path of humble empowerment. Only then can we explore from a state of genuine curiosity how to best leverage our seat of relative wealth and privilege in service to another.