Every so often the truth comes home to me that I have spent a good portion of my life thinking (and worrying) about my own individual, separate welfare. Even this morning, as soon as I awoke I began planning how ‘I’ was going to have a good day today. I passed a schedule of upcoming events through my mind, sorting out activities that would be beneficial to me from those that could possibly harm me. I began fretting a bit about whether I would have enough time to complete all the tasks that seemed necessary to make this a good day for me. I wondered if I had all my priorities straight. Everything was ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, and ‘mine’ – and that, I’m afraid, is the way I spend many of my thinking moments. Even when I’m thinking about others, it’s often in connection with how their lives affect mine – how they make me feel happy or sad, how they bring peace or turmoil to my life. Even when I’m thinking about how to help my students become better readers and writers, it’s frequently because ‘I’ want to appear as a better teacher. Everything centers around ‘me’.
What’s strange about this is that it means I’ve spent a sizeable part of my life in ignorance of the grand universe as a whole. While I’m worrying about what I’m going to be accomplishing in the next hour, countless miracles are occurring all around me, and I’m unaware of most of them. The sun is shining superbly outside my window while I fuss about what tie I should wear. Great grey trees are standing silently and beautifully in the park while I debate about which book I should read next. Blood is flowing magnificently through my body while I obsessively plan the lessons for my classes. My lungs are expanding with perfect precision while I try my best to secure some private satisfaction for myself.
Today I can hopefully continue my long-term project of unloading this burden, this enormous weight of self-centeredness. Perhaps I can continue to turn away from my tiny, isolated ego and open up to the grandeurs of daily life around me. While I’ve been worrying about ‘me’, a majestic universe has been ceaselessly unfolding, and I want to witness it. I want to continue, day after day, to set down the heavy load of egocentricity and start enjoying the show.