I am hopeful because everyday more people learn to meditate or practice yoga. I am hopeful because I see groups of people and individuals helping others each and every day.
I am hopeful because millions around the world have regular contact with people of other nations, races, religions, and cultures. I am hopeful because millions have the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures and see that we, as humans, are basically the same.
As Mahatma Gandhi put it and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. affirmed, if violence and prejudice were uppermost, the human race would have disappeared long ago.
I am hopeful because I see knowledge and awareness spreading like the dawn's early light around the world. At first the light exposes our ignorance and our darkness but soon enough the light enlightens our conscience.
I am hopeful because while I expect many challenges will result from humanity's refusal to heed the signs that we must live in greater harmony with our planet and one another, I also expect those challenges to serve as instruments to prod our "pride" to embrace change with faith and courage.
I am hopeful because a line of yoga masters assures us that humanity is NOT in a descending spiral of brutishness (as many fundamentalist types aver) but that, instead, we are in an ascending arc of ever greater knowledge and awareness. It may be slow but it is inexorable. It may be two steps forward and one step back but like a silent tsunami it is unstoppable and will, in time, overcome all that is not of itself. Swami Sri Yukteswar, the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda and a renowned astrologer, predicted that in this age (2,000 years long beginning around 1900 A.D.) humanity will gain self-respect. A simple statement but with profound implications.
I am hopeful because I see that "the divine light has ascended anew**" and though it is crucified daily by ignorance it continues to grow just as the early light of dawn can only grow as the hours pass.
I am hopeful because I believe that even the present regressiveness of otherwise progressive nations (like America) will incite people of goodwill to rise up, band together, and stand up for what is true and good for all. When I see the expansiveness and open heartedness of young adults and when I see the intelligence and light in the eyes of the youngest barely new-born generation, I am hopeful.
I am hopeful because even though my own youthful expectations could not have foreseen current events and trends, I know that there are millions, perhaps a billion or two, who, once in their youths, also cherished the same dream of peace and brotherhood for all.
I am hopeful because even though now in the life cycle commonly (and formerly) considered "retirement age" I know that good and evil, happiness and sorrow, and success and failure will always and eternally vie for supremacy, I also know that true joy is within me and awaits discovery by all who would seek the "pearl of great price."
I am hopeful even as I am prepared for what others may insist is the worst. It is darkest, it is said, before the dawn. Progress cannot be made without sacrifice and that includes lives, not just money or dedicated effort. My eyes are open; my heart is calm; my spirit is glad. In God, we are One.
I am hopeful, how about you?
** a quote from the Festival of Light ceremony referencing the birth and life of modern saints and especially those in the lineage of Paramhansa Yogannada. The Festival of Light is recited and sung each Sunday at an Ananda center and temple near you.