I hereby reaffirm: We are alive, and it matters!

Will Meadows

Editor’s note: “I hereby reaffirm,” a new corner of the The Lawrentian, aims to foster a campus-wide dialogue about personal belief. What do you believe? Think about it, write it down and send it to lawrentian@lawrence.edu

I found time to think, late at night, with faint ideas, people and tasks buzzing around my tired head. I thought about this question: “What do I believe in?”

What should I reaffirm? I think about this a lot. I think we all do. A lot. The question racks our brains and actions, our views, our discussions; it makes us gasp, cough and sigh to the looming possibility of even having an answer. Yet we answer it every day. We reaffirm what we believe by what we do.

Yes! I believe in movement. It’s the movement of the human spirit, the ability for us all to radiate energy of which no limits have been found. I’m talkin’ bout the funky kind of energy that people breathe all around us, in the face of an impermanent world. It is that movement which inspires us to create, to connect, to exist with a world beyond our vessels. It is that movement for which we really live. I’m talking about that quality which cannot be named!

So I’m an optimist. I believe in possibility. I believe in your opportunity, your energy, your passion. I believe that things can be done.

Positivity is said to be a certain view, but it gets us up, it gets us awake. It connects us with the native, the true animation of being. Changling Rinpoche said at a sitting in Washington D.C., “the Buddha had a view, yes, but he — or she — was looking.” Without effort he — or she — wouldn’t have seen. Call it the alive question — are we talking, eating, working, sleeping, making love, listening, alive? Or dead?

We all have our rivers. I was sitting alone on the White River down in Arkansas when a thought came to me. I always went to the river and became still on a limestone outcrop on the edge of the Ozark woods. I went there to force a thought, an insight. Sometimes I’d just try and be empty. But today I was thinking about exploration. Exploration — seeing through ignorance — never hurt anyone. In my opinion — and yes I understand that this is just my opinion — most of ignorance is the mindset to do nothing, a mindset I’ve had much of my life. But I’ve decided to try to think like a mountain — Aldo Leopold! — while living like a river. Move!

We are damn sure going to fix the world’s problems together. Yes, they are big, but so are your ideas.

People inspire me every day. Just as Ysafe Barnwell said in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I don’t want to talk to you, I want to sing with you!” That’s the most important part of reaffirming movement! No inspiration deserves solitary confinement. I’ll get it off my chest as I say right now that I don’t think we’re separate at all. We’re going to take hand-made responsibility for this world. Grab your girlfriend, your dog, your enemy; pick up your shovel, your pen, your peanut butter; breathe deep — your last words, or a sigh of relief — and live!

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