As I watched young graduates swimming in their dreams this past weekend, I recalled someone telling me if I need or want something, ask the universe and manifest it. I was given examples of when this worked. In fact, films and books, such as “The Secret,” recommend the same technique and provide testimonials.
Maybe at times it works, but I can think of as many instances when individuals spoke to the universe and put in hard work and nothing happened, at least nothing positive.
Does the universe not like them? I’ve asked people who subscribe to these mantras, and their response is usually, “They lack faith,” or, “They didn’t believe.”
Yeah, that’s what it was.
I’m not saying don’t manifest. If I want Spiderman boxers, I say, “When I own Spiderman boxers,” in conversation instead of “If I own Spiderman boxers,” because believing in yourself goes a long way. Still, the universe isn’t a magic box that dumps desires, and people who say otherwise, even if they don’t mean it, imply that people not celestially blessed with a 57-inch plasma are not working hard, asking the universe in the appropriate tone or believing enough.
Well, you can walk down the street enjoying the breeze and the blue sky and kick a stray cat, flip off the universe and spit on a homeless man before reaching home and snoring through sweet dreams and wake up to your six-figure job and live a long, healthy life. Or, you can do the same, minus the kicking and spitting, serenade the universe before a breathtaking sunset, feed and shelter the homeless and during your sweet dreams a hole opens up in the ground and swallows you dead.
Life is unfair and does not choose sides and young people should know that before the ones whose lives end up being a struggle are caught off guard and they think they must have failed.
They should know that two people can work hard, blow kisses to the universe and attend college, and one can end up a millionaire and the other homeless, depending upon which way the wind was blowing on any given day.
Still, work hard and do the best you can with the tools you have and seek out the ones you don’t have. If you succeed beyond your wildest dreams, don’t think you’re special or better than others, because the true measure of people is how they treat others who do not benefit them in any way when no one who matters is looking, and titles and toys are nothing more than things you’ve been told since you were little you NEED to make you happy.
If life is a struggle despite hard work, don’t feel less than, because hard work does not guarantee success. But it says something about you that others listen to and appreciate.
Howard Zinn said, “I’ve always resented the smug statements of politicians, media commentators, corporate executives who talked about how, in America, if you worked hard, you would become rich. The meaning of that was: if you were poor, it was because you hadn’t worked hard enough. I knew this was a lie.”
I grew up in a big house and never wanted for anything material. Today, I drive an old car, live in an apartment, can’t afford to purchase a couple used kayaks this summer and wait until my running shoes are falling apart to replace them. Yet I am happier and healthier today.
The media convinces us we NEED to get the things we NEED, and then we send off young people telling them they can do whatever they want as long as they believe and later we don’t understand why there are so many medicated, depressed individuals drowning in waves of nervous breakdowns, self-appointed aging failures who lack what they NEED.
I have a fiancé, son and daughter. I love and cherish them.
A house on the side of a mountain in Vermont would be nice, and traveling the world sounds dreamy. But I do not need these things and I will not be a failure if they never happen.
I learned that my dreams were realized when Darby and Samuel were born and Erica smiled under a sharp nose and happy eyes the first time she drove across the ferry. Every time I encounter a human being and our hearts smile, another dream comes true.
I would tell graduates nothing is more vital than human connections, because that’s where true magic happens and the world is healed.
Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.