In these very tumultuous and challenging times, it is good to remind ourselves that doing the right thing isn’t always easy and that all one’s choices always have consequences – both for ourselves and for the world. I learned this at in early age when, in the early 1960s, the Vietnam War was really starting to turn ugly. I had just turned 18 and my boyfriend Steve had just dropped out of college and was immediately drafted into the army. Steve and I were against the Vietnam War. My father was a military man and worked at the Pentagon, so our opposition to the war wasn’t very popular in my family. At that time, there was the draft in the United States so Steve had only two options – join the army or go to jail for five years. He had no chance of becoming a conscientious objector because at that time you could only get conscientious objector status on religious grounds and Steve wasn’t religious. The protest movement hadn’t really begun yet in the United States and Steve and I felt very alone with our choices. But it was a question of doing the right thing and we had only our lives and our bodies to do it with – so we did. We decided we would not be a part of a war that we thought was unjust. So I ran away from home and Steve ran from the army – and together we went underground. We left the United States and after two years on the run and many adventures, we ended up getting political asylum in Sweden, a country that opposed American involvement in Vietnam.
Doing the right thing
Because of this experience, I learned at an early age that doing the right thing isn’t always easy and that all one’s choices always have consequences. In the case of the Vietnam War, fortunately there were many other young Americans who felt the same way as Steve and I did and eventually America withdrew from Vietnam, but only after so many lives were tragically destroyed.
For me personally, this decision changed the course of my whole life and resulted in me leaving the country of my birth at a very young age and building a new life in Scandinavia where I still live today. Many years later when I saw my father for the last time, he cried and apologized for not understanding or supporting me way back then when I was young. Such is the way of it.
The impulse to do the right thing burns brightly in each of us.
It is our nature, the heart of us, which is love. When we oppose our innermost nature, we suffer and so do others. That is why I feel so strongly that if we want to live happy lives, we should not cover up this urge, this flame, this bright impulse to do the right thing (which is always an expression of love) – regardless of the cost. This flame is our morning star, this flame is our guiding light, this flame is the heart of each one of us.
Doing the right thing on a daily basis
Doing the right thing is not just a social-political activity or just about doing the right thing in the big areas of our lives; it’s also a daily activity because every moment of our lives we are faced with choices big and small. And every choice, every action has consequences. This is because of the law of cause and effect, which is always in operation and which means that every thought, word and action sets in motion a chain of events and happenings that echo down through the ages. We live in a universe of interdependence where no man or woman is an island, but where each one of us is part of the same fabric, part of the same web of life, each inextricably influencing each other and the whole.
That is why it is so important to be mindful and pay attention to what we are thinking, saying and doing. Because everything we think, say and do has consequences. When we are mindful and always try to align ourselves with our true inner knowingness and the Highest Good we can envision, then we are living and acting with as much awareness as we are capable of – in both the public and private arena. More than this we cannot do.
With this growing awareness, we discover that no matter where we are or who we are, we are always being given the opportunity to do the right thing. Regardless of our station in life, regardless of our culture, age or sex, choices are appearing before us all the time, each and every day. This is the way of it as it unfolds before us. Events may be big or small, but all events and activities are equally worthy of our attention. Every event, every issue, every situation is awaiting our stamp – your stamp and mine – the stamp of our integrity – the stamp that expresses our highest vision of what life can be on earth.
In every case, in every situation, it is our intention that counts. Intention is the key and determines our focus. So it is a good idea to ask ourselves: Is my intention for the Highest Good? Is my intention for justice for all? Is my intention for peace, love and harmony? Is it my intention to avoid or end suffering for myself and for all my fellow beings? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves over and over again as we proceed through our day. These are the questions we need to ask as we reflect on our choices and our activities.
May you choose wisely and for the Good of All!
Blessings to you in these challenging times!
About Barbara Berger
American-born Barbara Berger is the best-selling author of “The Road to Power – Fast Food for the Soul” (published in 30 languages), “Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life” (published in 21 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. Barbara's latest book is "Find and Follow Your Inner Compass – Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload". Barbara also works as coach and therapist, helping people around the globe come into alignment with their own true power. For more about Barbara see her Web site: http://www.beamteam.com
** Below are titles & links to the beautiful work from Barbara. She is a long time contributor and my dear friend :) **
The Ultimate Self-Empowerment Tool – Your Inner Compass
The Key to Happiness; Understanding the Way the Mind Works
Who would you be if you didn’t know your age?
The Power of Right Seeing
Review of Barbara Berger’s book Find and Follow Your Inner Compass by Riki Frahmann
Are You Here Now? Are You Happy Now?
Discovering Who You Really Are
Getting in Touch with Your Heart
Follow Your Passion & Accept the Consequences
The Power of the Joyful Giver
You have nothing to deal with but your own thoughts
Peace Is Your Nature
The Power of Contemplating Love
How Can We Serve?
The Importance of Mind Management
Focus on the Real – A Way of Dealing with Worry and Catastrophic Thinking
Nothing External Can Disturb Us
Just Let Everything Be!
The Gift of Crisis
The Power of Asking for Help
What does it mean to be psychologically mature?
The Meaning of Life
The Power of Praise & Blessing
Our Unalienable Rights
Meeting the Family & Keeping Your Peace of Mind
Healthy Boundaries – the Secret of Good Relationships
Wanting What You Have
NOW IS THE TIME TO THINK POSITIVE
A Scientific Prayer to Lift Your Consciousness
Healthy Self Talk about the Body
Time Are Changing Aren’t They?
Are You Following Your Inner Compass?
What Happens When We Don't Listen to Our Inner Compass?
Your Right to Be You
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