By now, most of us have heard about the powerful words shared by Pope Francis at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. As Vatican Radio summed up, the Pope shared that "'doing good' is a principle that unites all humanity, beyond the diversity of ideologies and religions, and creates the 'culture of encounter' that is the foundation of peace."
This is an idea that at first sounds simple enough. After all, who among us doesn't want to support unity, peace, and personal redemption? Who doesn't want to end the hatred and chaos that exists in the world, whether it is between brothers, friends, peoples, or nations?
But the real question is how are we going to make this happen?
To get to that answer, I believe we first need to ask ourselves the big why: Why should we work for peace in the first place? Can these ideas of "oneness" and "doing good deeds" be something beyond nice, moral concepts?
Interestingly, this idea of a universal platform upon which all of humanity can unite is also the basis of Global Spirituality, a concept coined and described by Rav Ashlag, the founder of the Kabbalah Centre.
The defining principle of life, according to this paradigm, is that each and every one of us -- no matter what our religion, race, nationality, political affiliation, belief system, or manner of worship -- has the Light of God within.
Our responsibility is to get to a place in our consciousness where we see and respect that Light in all people.
According to one of the greatest kabbalists of all time, Rav Isaac Luria, we are all connected, just as the human body is all connected. Therefore when we look at another as if they are less than us, it is effectively as if one part of our body -- our hand for instance -- is feeling particularly superior to, say, our foot, which of course we know is not the case. Each part of the body has a specific function and all parts must work together to ensure the health and vitality of the whole. To understand this on a deeper level, I will share a fundamental teaching of Kabbalah that explains how it all began.
In the beginning, there existed what the kabbalists call the Endless World -- filled with the Creator's infinite Light, overflowing with abundance. This Endless World was the source of all peace, love, health, sustenance, well-being, and true fulfillment.
The Creator's inherent nature is one of endless sharing. But in the Endless World, there was no one with whom the Creator, God, could share this fulfillment. So God created a Vessel -- humanity -- whose nature was the desire to receive. There was perfect balance: the Light shared and the Vessel received.
Then a profound transformation took place. We know it to be true that in any creation, we can find the essence of its creator. For example, we know the difference between a Monet and a Van Gogh because there is a spark of the essence of each painter in his painting. Thus, in addition to the desire to receive, the Vessel of humanity also contained the Creator's desire to share, initiate, and create.
Imbued with the nature of the Creator, the Vessel felt unfulfilled by the abundance it was constantly receiving. As a result, the Vessel chose to withdraw from Paradise to find its own way to fulfillment. In effect, the Vessel decided, "I don't want to receive any more until I can also share."
This action was the impetus for the shattering of the original Vessel and the creation of this physical world. As a result, we -- humanity -- can achieve true happiness and eliminate chaos and separation only through the work of reuniting that Vessel -- by becoming like the Light (which is our true nature) and recognizing that Light in others.
Sound impossible? Maybe at first. But as I've said before, I may not be able to change the world, but I can change me. And if a million "me's" change, then together we can change the world.