Depair, and Hope

In a July 2018 Being conversation, Krista Tippett speaks of “what’s happening in the world right now”, “the pain and dismay and distress and despair.”

“There have been days in the last few weeks,” she says, “where I just didn’t know, really, whether it was OK to get out of bed, with what’s going on in the world.”

It does not help that “Journalism, the way it came down to us from the 20th century, is absolutely focused, utterly and completely, on what is catastrophic, corrupt, and failing.”

But, Krista points out, “at the same time, there are good people. There are healing initiatives. There is a narrative of healing and of hope and of goodness.”

Krista then teaches that it is vital that “we keep flexing and strengthening our hope muscle. Hope is a muscle. It’s a choice. It is a vigorous choice, to see what is wrong and what needs healing and needs repair and needs our attention and also to keep our hearts and our imaginations and our energy oriented towards what we want to build, what we want to create, what we’re walking towards.”

Rather than crumble under the weight of despair, or be cynical, each of us, Krista exhorts, would do well “to embody” an approach to daily living that aims at “justice….joy….and….flourishing for ourselves, and everyone else.

In an August 2021 conversation, Thich Nhat Hanh was asked: “You have witnessed a lot of suffering in your life. How did you manage not to lose hope?”

His reply: “Yes, I have witnessed a lot of suffering, especially during the Vietnam war. At that time, I was helping to build a village for refugees in the demilitarized zone when it was bombed by the Americans because Vietcong were hiding there. So we rebuilt it. Then it was bombed again. So we rebuilt it again. Once again it was demolished. The third time we discussed if we should rebuild it again. It was my belief that if we gave up, people would lose all hope. So we rebuilt the houses again a third time, then a fourth time and finally a fifth time.”

The interviewers, Malte Conradi and Sarah Raich, ask: “But where did you get the strength to do that?”

The sage’s reply has a profound message: “We try to transform suffering into something good. Even a lotus flower needs mud in order to grow. It can’t grow on marble.”

Peace 😊

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s