If we can be sensitive to everyone around us, every single moment, we can create a better world.
I read a beautiful anecdote in Speaking Tree recently. A man who is visiting Sweden on business is driven from his hotel to his client’s office by the client every morning. The man has work with his client for several weeks. And so everyday his client drives him up. The client’s office is a large facility, which has the capacity to park over 200 cars. But every morning, although they arrive early, the man’s client never parks his car close to the office building – even if the parking bays closer to the building are empty. He always parks his car in the first available bay that is farthest from the building. One day, the visitor asks his client why he does so. The client replies: “We are always early, so we can walk up. Besides, it is good exercise. But think of those who come late. If they can park closer to the building, they can save that much time getting in to work!”
I was moved by the spirit of humanness that the story conveys. How often to do pause to think of a fellow human being? In our rush to make our work and lives complete, we have become self-obsessed and self-indulgent. There’s no time to pause, no time to think for another person and no time to be kind. And yet we are quick to complain, to criticize others and to lament that our world is being destroyed.
But a few change-makers are showing the way. The other day, while on our morning walk, we saw a gentleman walking his two pet dogs ahead of us. Much to our surprise, he actually cleaned up after his pets – he scooped their poop! That is rare, especially in India. The fact that someone was caring to do it was both reassuring and inspiring. I believe that real change around us can happen if we focus on changing ourselves first. One person at a time. One small act at a time.
For that change to happen within us, we must be sensitive to the needs and sentiments of those around us. There are so many opportunities each day to show your kindness and compassion to a fellow human being. You can help someone with their shopping bags or make way for an elderly passenger to board ahead of you or hold the elevator for someone who is rushing to catch it or avoid honking if you notice that there’s a traffic pile up or not talk at the top of your voice from your balcony. We can do all this and more, however, only when we look beyond ourselves and our own small worlds. And that requires us to let go of the past, avoid the urge to rush into the future and simply be present in the moment. When you are present in the now, you are aware. It is when you are aware that you are sensitive. It is through your awareness that your humanness can be restored. And it is only through being human, and being sensitive to others, that you can make this world – and your Life – any better!