I chanced upon an inspiring project this evening: “100000aspirations.org.” This is an online community collecting aspirations from people around the world to put in a “stupa” in Vermont. Stupas are sacred monuments to peace, tolerance and compassion that are at the heart of the Buddhist tradition.
I was all set to type my aspiration into the box on the “100,000” home page, but suddenly found myself pausing, fingers hovering above the keys – waiting, thinking. I had expected that it would be easy to do this seemingly simple thing; it wasn’t.
So many aspirations came to mind. Which aspirations to choose for such an ambitious project? I aspire to work toward world peace … I aspire to be a better person, more patient, kind, generous … I aspire to truly, really, unconditionally wish all beings well (yes, ALL beings, even despots, corrupt leaders, and those who have been unkind, cruel, inconsiderate, unappreciative, disloyal, hurtful) … I aspire to be calmer, quieter … I aspire to be more mindful and less reactive … I aspire to live with more consciousness, more awareness, to live more “awake” … I aspire to have healthier boundaries … I aspire to cultivate contentment and equanimity … I aspire to not make assumptions … I aspire to think the best of others …
What affirmation could be worthy of standing alongside the likes of Pema Chödrön, Sharon Salzberg, Roshi Joan Halifax and the other “greats” weighing in on the topic?
But then I “got it:” I didn’t have to be an enlightened being, nor a respected dharma teacher. I just had to identify a goal and commit to working toward that goal. I had to have the intention to be authentic and honest. I had to have the desire to be the best I could be. Everyone can do that. I could do that.
Here’s the aspiration I submitted: “I aspire to cultivate happiness, embrace gratitude, see things as they really are, be fearless, live my yoga, help relieve suffering, stand in my truth, and empower others to do the same.”
At 11:00 pm tonight, the project still had 96,166 aspirations to go. You can add your voice by visiting http://www.100000aspirations.org/
Let’s create a better world, together, one aspiration at a time.