THE BLOG
01/02/2014 03:43 pm ET Updated Mar 02, 2014

On This Island in Space

I believe we have much to be hopeful about as we enter 2014, though on the surface of things it may appear otherwise.

I believe more and more of us are learning to look beyond the surface of things, however, and what we see is more meaningful to the life of our global community than today's news, tonight's sports scores or tomorrow's weather.

I believe we have been brought here -- to this lifetime, this moment in time, this island in space -- to accomplish something. Each of us on our own separate mission that somehow relates, through the unfathomable meshing of the Universe's gears, to the greater purposes of life.

I believe we are singers in a chorus whose combined song has the power to lift darkness from the face of the land, if we would only awaken to the true song within each of us.

I believe we are all journeying on the same road, leading up the same mountain, to the same summit. The only difference is some of us have been traveling longer and have learned to avoid obstacles that delay and ensnare travelers with less experience.

I believe suffering and pain have purpose in our lives, often forcing us to grow into stronger, better human beings and to explore horizons that would never have called to us otherwise. I have seen parents who have lost children find meaning in their lives by dedicating themselves to protecting and enriching the lives of other people's children. I have seen victims use their victimhood to alert and save others from the same tragedies. Such is the serendipitous alchemy of disaster and despair.

I believe the greatest obstacles to happiness are those inner demons that keep us isolated from each other, whether they be hunger or avarice, fear of our neighbors, envy or rank malice. Once we allow ourselves to separate from the rest of mankind, we act like creatures deafened by the volume of our own petty desires. No longer able to hear the cries of others. No longer affected by the tides of calamity or misery that uproot those around us.

I believe we live in a world where noise and movement too easily overwhelm thoughtfulness and purpose. From the earliest age we are taught to fill the spaces in our lives with sound, activity or moving images, as if a quiet home or a quiet mind were unwelcome oddities. As we progress on our life's journey, I believe we will learn to welcome these spaces rather than fill them, to drink from them rather than run from them, to make room for them in our lives as we would any healing or sustaining nourishment.

I believe we are learning to overcome superficial differences between ourselves and others, no longer allowing diversity to automatically breed fear and distrust. I can't say if we've become more tolerant because the global media web has shrunken our planet, or because fear, lies and ignorance inevitably shrivel under the constant glare of media attention. Whatever the reason, the veils and superstitions that have fueled intolerance across millennia, sending countless soldiers off to countless wars, are now being lifted. The arc of the universe, I believe, is bending towards justice and brotherhood as more and more travelers make their way up the mountain.

I believe we have been brought here -- to this lifetime, this moment in time, this island in space -- to accomplish something. Each of us on our own separate mission that somehow relates, through the unfathomable meshing of the Universe's gears, to the greater purposes of life.

I believe one of the reasons I am here -- in this lifetime, on this island in space -- is to open my heart and reveal what I find through my writing.

And I believe this was written for you.

I came across this essay written eight years ago and felt its message was not only timeless but also impeccably timed for today in light of recent wars, cataclysms and our own government's stagnation. Its message of hope is no less strident or believable in light of those events, but perhaps more urgently needed. And so, dear friends, I decided to share it with you as we transition into a new year fraught with great potential and many gifts.