THE CRISIS OF HOMELESSNESS IS A CRISIS OF THE HEART, OUR INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE HEART — AND THE SOLUTION LIES THERE AS WELL
We are in the midst of a massive crisis of homelessness. There are countless numbers of refugees roaming all over the earth, homeless, destitute and in need of food, clothing and shelter. This pitiable situation has been caused by wars, terrorism, governmental failures, famines and lack of social cohesion.
What is the solution?
The solution is contained in this one ancient aphorism from the Manu Smritis:
“The world is my family.”
If only people could emerge from the imprisoning mindset of “me and mine”, the problem of homelessness could be eradicated. There are enough millionaires in the world who could contribute to building shelters for the homeless. New York, a city of billionaires, is facing a humanitarian crisis because so many migrants are sleeping in the streets.
I remember when I was studying at New York University in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. One morning on my way to class, I saw a man lying stretched out on the ground in Washington Square Park. He looked like he was dead! People were just passing by without even glancing at him. I felt like I was going to faint. I just couldn’t bear the pain I felt when I saw this man on the street. I had to hold onto the gate to steady myself.
Yet many years later, even today, many more are in the same situation in so many countries in the world. People are seeing without eyes. Hearing, but without ears. Feeling, but without the heart. When there is real love, one doesn’t even feel one is giving. The heart just overflows with love. This is the quality so needed in today’s conflict-ridden world.
We must awaken to the reality that if anyone is suffering, I am also suffering because suffering anywhere effects all of us. No one exists in isolation. Each person is a part of the whole. The ache in a finger affects the entire body. A war in Ukraine affects the entire world. A refugee in agony in a filthy room sends shivers through the entire fabric of humanity. We are responsible in an indirect way.
The only way to end this deplorable situation is to open our hearts to love.
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. It can conquer hate, violence, distrust, fear and every emotion which is detrimental to life. It can shatter all illusions. Open wide the prism windows of your soul and breathe the fresh morning winds that stir a renewal of life into all living beings. Be awake to everything around you. Let the light of your inner being guide you to actions which can heal the earth. Plant seeds of compassion in the garden, plant roses of joy and tulips of caring and saplings of peace. The earth is our common home. It is given to us to share, care and nurture. It is our common inheritance.
These verses from The Great Provider encapsulates this idea:
“The sun shines for others,
The trees bear fruit for others,
The rivers flow for the good of others,
The cows yield milk for others.
Human birth is likewise meant
For doing good to others.
We have a most important
And compelling work to do…”
This poem by Emily Dickenson also echoes these sentiments:
“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”
May our work to solve the crisis of homelessness be completed soon.
May all beings live in harmony and peace.
May no one suffer.
May all enjoy health, happiness and fulfillment together.