8 billion blank canvases

It’s mind-boggling to think of the other 7,982,500,000 people that share our existence here at this very moment.

It’s true, the world population is about to reach 8 billion.

That’s a lot of people just trying to figure out how to be.

  • The population reached 7 billion on October 31, 2011.
  • It is projected to reach 9 billion in 2037, and 10 billion people in the year 2055.

What the heck are we even doing here? And how do we connect to a better future?

From one perspective there are just 2 simple keys to happiness:

  1. Believing the future can be better.
  2. Believing you have the power to make it better.

I like this roadmap to happiness because the objective that lives there is:

  • to connect to your individual capacities as a human being.
  • to be sovereign, a master of our own life
  • to be free of outside corruptive influences

Another way to say the same thing is happiness comes from truly occupying your own space.

It’s like we are 8 billion blank canvases. We want to be the ones holding the brush when it comes to painting on our own canvas. 

In the modern world, it’s a battle to keep orientation. Many diseases stem from not being able to stake a claim on our own lives. Diabetes is one. Have a look at this statement from Dr. Dean Schillinger, a professor of medicine and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

“Our entire society is perfectly designed to create Type 2 diabetes. It’s about massive federal subsidies that support producing ingredients that go into low-cost, energy-dense, ultra-processed, and sugar-loaded foods, the unfettered marketing of junk food to children, suburban sprawl, that demands driving over walking or biking, all the forces in the environment that some of us have the resources to buffer ourselves against but people with low income don’t.”

Ouch. You’ve heard that the Standard American Diet is coined S.A.D. for short? Well, here you have it.

Federal subsidies intending to be in service of the people are off track making individuals sicker and society weaker. Poor planning, improper regulation, and lack of insight into many areas of society are a threat to our well-being.  Yes, we’ve known for a long time you have to go against the stream to be healthy. Haven’t we? We can’t rely on what we are being “fed”.

Wrong ideas about food or medicine or education or civic design are certainly aplenty, and they are simply the ground on which we live. We can get lost in trying to fix them, but my invitation is to see their main “fix” being the stimulation of our inner activity. They are the raw material for us to learn discernment. What a powerful lesson to learn that our protectors need to be told that they need correction. What a powerful step to decline what we determine does not fit.

Modern life by necessity will, one way or another, present us with the path to our individual capacities as human beings. We can do that with more awareness and mutual support or less awareness and harder lessons as laid out by Dr. Schillinger. Naturally, campaigns that support inner awareness and capacity will lessen the more difficult lessons. And vice versa. Greed will breed suffering. It’s a pretty tight system.

But, remember, we don’t have to solve these massive puzzles all at once or rue the way someone else is making it harder for us. That actually is tipping things the wrong way. Doing our daily work, and taking on the task in front of us is key. We actually can alleviate a lot. Get out of bed, wash your face and choose something smart to wear. Be ready. Start there.

Learning to not take in anything without really deciding for ourselves if it is sensible and adopting habits that support that activity are huge keys.

The road to health contains plenty of single-ingredient, whole-food, plant-based meals. And the road to happiness is the road to the inner reformer, the inner thinker, and the inner artist. We remain in search of the wisdom to get us healthy and put us on track and the inner activity that supports that.

Here is a reminder that the source of wisdom is you, unfettered.

Happy painting today!