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Finally, I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am…”” ~ Thomas Merton

In today's world, we constantly seem to be chasing the things that our society proclaims will make us happier. We know that if our basic needs (hunger, fear, etc.) are not met, we are miserably unhappy. And yet, it doesn't take much to take us from this extremely unhappy state to a very happy state.  You would think a nice meal and a roof over our heads would do this almost immediately, but we have been programmed in our society to compete with our fellow human beings; to be better, stronger, faster, and let no “man” stand in our way to the top. We appear successful and happier with more possessions (a bigger house, fancier car, and designer apparel), but here's my question: Does it really make you feel better?

I recently showed my team the movie, “I Am,” by Tom Shadyac.The movie started out by asking the question: “WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD?”  In the movie, Tom interviews many great thinkers of our time and asked them this question. The overall message is that human beings are not designed to operate in an environment of continual competitiveness. Our society, and therefore our economy, is set up to be an “”I win, you lose”” environment. Yet, at our core as human beings, we have this constant desire to be a part of a bigger story or community. When fellow human beings anywhere in the world are in dire straits, we rush out to help those in need!

The great thinkers claimed that as a species, we cannot keep living the way we are. They claimed that as a natural part of existence on this planet, we would need to find that community spirit and change the way we exist, or the planet will change to survive without us. I love movies that ask questions rather than trying to offer all the solutions. So you are left having to think a little deeper and maybe come to the conclusion that money is not the measurement of the highest accolade. All living things in the world live together in incredible unison and beautiful synchronicity and no part of this chain of miracles should be broken for the sake of greed and wanting more.

Given the recent passing of the great singer and performer, Whitney Houston, it is clear to us all that fame, money, good looks, and outstanding talent does not create a happy ending.  She is not the first to have proved this point to us nor will she be the last. So then what is the answer to being happy if, “having it all” is not the answer? I believe it is a basic human need to have a reason to get up in the morning. We have all heard the infamous quotes from stars who claim they would not get out of bed for less than $100,000. Take away the reason to get up each day, and you take away a basic human need. Inspiration then dissipates, souls wither, and depression sets in.

My reason for getting up each day is to experience the joy of what each day brings. As Thomas Merton so beautifully says, “Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth, plants something in his soul.”  Yes, I am glad to be alive and to be aware of changes coming. I have a passion for learning more about what makes us all tick on this awesome planet. We are all connected, and I believe that we all feel at our core that there is a bigger reason for being here on earth. It's more than just going through the societal cycle of paying bills and acquiring more. We have all asked ourselves these questions at some point in our lives. Let's keep asking ourselves these questions, “What's it all about?”

Tom Shadyac concluded his movie by making this very powerful, thought provoking statement: “WHATS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD? I AM.”

Yes!  I AM…as connected human beings we are what's right with the world, so let's keep asking ourselves the right questions!!!




Ralph Harris