I spend a lot of time contemplating the impact I’m having. Even when it seems like my stuff is my own and couldn’t possibly matter to anyone else, that I’m isolated and apart, separate, I know that my energy ripples out, that I am connected to everything, everyone, that with every thought, every action, and every breath, I am either generating suffering or easing it.
I have a deep desire to ease suffering, in myself and the world, but sometimes I feel so small, unnecessary and ineffective. I wonder if anything I do makes a difference. But every once in awhile, I am reminded that my effort matters.
The short documentary, “Forest Man,” tells the story of Jadav Payeng. He lives on Majuli Island, essentially nothing more than a large sandbar which is eroding, slowly disappearing. In an effort to stop the erosion, to rehabilitate the land, Jadav started planting trees. He’s been doing so since the 1970’s, and now his Molai Forest has reached 1,360 acres, and is a habitat “for several endangered animals which have returned to the area; a herd of nearly 100 elephants (which has now given birth to an additional ten), Bengal tigers, and a species of vulture that hasn’t been seen on the island in over 40 years.” I am so inspired by him.
You see, kind and gentle reader, each of us has the power to ease suffering. We may think we are small, that what we do can’t possibly amount to making a difference, and yet with discipline and dedication, our actions have power, we can effect change, have an impact. We can create an entire forest by planting one single tree at a time.
Something to consider on this day of rest: Where do you see suffering? What can you do to ease it? Where will you plant your trees? What do you long to save, to rehabilitate, to rescue, to heal?