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Most people don’t count in the world. In fact, almost all people in the world don’t count. They are born, they grow, and they die. Their lives are quickly forgotten after they die and the world is no different for them having been there.
Have you ever been to a cemetery? When you walk around the cemetery you will see numerous headstones and most of these people didn’t count. They may have loved others and been loved; however, they didn’t really matter to the world. These people may have had a lot of friends, they may have been happy, they may have been wealthy, they may have even been extraordinarily good.
But they didn’t really matter to the world.
The simple truth of the matter is that most people don’t count and regardless what we may want to believe about ourselves, or tell ourselves, most people will never count.
A great deal of our day-to-day struggle in the world is to ensure that we count. People have different measures to try and figure out ways for them to count. For example:
All around us we can see examples of people doing things they believe they need to do to count. I remember a couple of years ago, I was taking a class with my wife at a small university in Los Angeles. Every single classroom was named after someone who’d donated money to the school. Every single wing of the school was named after someone who had donated money. Every nook and cranny of the school had someone’s name on it. I am sure that all of the people gave money to the school because they wanted to help and had been touched by it in some way. But the school also made a bargain with them. In effect, the school said “we will make you count and name this classroom after you if you give money.”
What is it that makes one person really count and not another? When you turn on the television and watch various news stories that obsess over one celebrity or another, they are obsessing over people who “count.” In reality, these people really only count a little. Even these well known people are ultimately not going to really count when it comes right down to it. But these people “count” a bit. A powerful politician could be said to “count” and if the person is President, for example, then they almost certainly count. But even presidents can be forgotten over time if they don’t make their impact truly felt.
There are certain people out there who really and truly make an impact on the world and the people around them know who they are. There is a certain power that comes from these people, it emanates from them, and the world pays attention. These people may have an excellent education or they may not. The education this person has never really matters all that much or is only as important as their ability to make an impact on the world. These people may be brilliant or they may not be. None of this really matters to the people who ultimately end up counting the most.
Two men join a large company at the same time. One is very well educated and gets along well with people. The other has less of an education and is very abrupt, making a lot of people angry with him. People don’t like him. Yet, the man with the lesser education who cannot get along with people becomes President of the company and soon is one of the most famous CEOs in the world. The other man, who seems better than the other in every way, lives a life of obscurity and has a career of obscurity. He doesn’t ultimately end up mattering to the world. What is it about the man who becomes CEO that makes him different?
One person writes a poorly written book about something which has been written about before and it becomes a massive best seller. Another person writes a similar book about the same thing that is incredibly well written, and no one cares about it. Both books were promoted the same way but something ends up happening to one book and not the other. It’s not about promotion. It’s about something else and something that no one seems to understand. What I am trying to say is that there are certain people who possess something that others do not that enables them to “matter” and “count” in the world. This is something that is so, so rare that we don’t encounter it often. We know it when we see it and we feel it when we are around people who have it. We feel this when we shake hands with the person who ends up mattering. We know this when we are around these people. It’s a force that certain people have and almost everyone else simply does not.
What is it that people who rise to great heights possess that others around them do not? Think about some of the incredible figures from history such as Gandhi, Jesus, Muhammad and others who made an incredible impact on the world around them and are influencing others long after they have left the Earth. These are people who “counted” and “mattered” to the world and who tapped into some sort of force that made them matter. We remember them and they have been gone a long, long time. There are others like these men and history is filled with them. The people who leave a massive impact on the world and who ultimately end up mattering to history and even the current world, however, are not the people who accumulated the most material things or held the highest positions. They are the people who are able to touch those around them with a certain type of power that others simply do not possess.
Most of the people I’ve ever known follow a “religion” of sorts that is based on accumulating material goods and symbols such as titles, degrees, and others indicators that we have for what happiness, power, and success represents in modern life. People rob banks to get what they think these symbols represent and how they will make them feel. Others steal to get what they think these symbols will make them feel. Some work 12 hours a day in the office for years and years to get access to symbols, money, and other accoutrements of success. We want to feel something and we are searching for something through all of this work and effort.
Most of our understanding of the world is based on our relationship with the physical–things, titles, and other indicators of success. However, most of us ultimately follow, and are influenced at the highest level, by those who have a relationship with something else and another sort of power. I would call this power the ability to relate to the “spirit” that exists in the world and to translate this spirit into how they relate with the world. There is a physical world and then there is a more ethereal world that isn’t based on the physical but revolves around something else. There is a relationship with this “something else” that enables us to influence others and it’s something that’s important and you need to be aware of it.
If you have this relationship with the “something else” out there, you will begin to place yourself on the realm of those who matter. The people who matter are those who have this relationship with this “something else” and it’s not physical. It is not sexual; however, it’s often misinterpreted as this. It’s, in many senses, spiritual but it doesn’t necessarily have a religious affiliation. It’s something that’s available to all but something that most people can’t see and never incorporate into their being. It’s something you know is there and have surely felt around you.
Ever since I learned to read, I’ve been studying different religions. In Buddhism, there is a “one” and a spiritual energy that practitioners try to tap into. This “oneness” is something that is achieved based on not having an attachment to earthly things, material goods, and emotions. It is an understanding that comes from a lack of attachment. In Christianity, there is the “Holy Spirit.” In the Sikh religion there is a “oneness” that comes from lack of attachment. This energy sought and worshiped by religions ought to make us sit up and take notice because it is nondenominational in nature. It’s something that’s incredibly powerful and has been around for thousands of years. It’s something that numerous people have dedicated their lives to and it’s also something that most people don’t understand.
What I can tell you, however, is that there are people out there who have tapped into this energy and use it. It doesn’t matter what religion they are. This energy is completely nondenominational in nature and it’s available to everyone. You too can take this energy and use it. This energy doesn’t care about the physical world and what material goods and titles we have. This energy is completely oblivious to who others think we are as well. This energy is a force of life that exists not just now but has always existed.
It’s clear from looking around us we simply can’t understand the world around us and how things work. I go to conferences all the time given by “forward thinkers” and I’m constantly amazed how one new idea after another comes up that we don’t understand. Recently, I heard a man lecture at an extremely prestigious conference about the feet of a gecko and how science is studying what it is about the feet of a gecko that allows them to climb walls. Here was a scientist who didn’t understand how a gecko could climb walls, and yet there is a force out there that has engineered the gecko and made it so that it can climb walls. There is a force that has given the gecko life that allows it to have a beating heart, to think, to reproduce, and to move. It’s the same force that creates the wind, makes you think about things, and makes all of us more than just objects. It’s a life force and a spirituality that everything possesses. It’s clear there is a force out there that we don’t understand that is capable of allowing something like the gecko and its remarkable abilities to come into existence. This force is not as simple as “Charles Darwin” and evolution because even he cannot explain what the force of life is inside of a gecko, and he cannot explain how a man like Gandhi could get hundreds of millions of people to follow him. What a man like Darwin could really teach us, however, was how his ideas (and not that of another) were able to get such widespread acceptance. This is the power of Darwin and it exceeds his ideas. The ability to powerfully leave your impact on the world long after you are gone is a skill scarcely anyone comprehends.
What is it about a work of modern art that makes one worth millions and the other worthless? This has always been something that I don’t understand. I’ve seen two pieces of art that were both done by modern artists and appear to be nothing more than paint thrown randomly on a page. One painting may be worth millions and the other is worthless. What is it about the painting that is worth millions compared to the one that is not? I have studied art history and often I am simply dumbfounded by this question. There is something about the artist and the power of their work that others pick up on and go with. I don’t know what this is, but I do know that there is a force out there that’s simply not understood by all.
What I’m suggesting is that the more we connect with this energy out there, and the more we are unified with this power, the more likely we are to achieve what we want in every endeavor we enter into. In fact, the more we use this energy and power in our dealings with the world, the more successful we are likely to be and the more we are likely to matter. I cannot say that I have the recipe for tapping into this power, as I don’t fully comprehend it myself. What I can say, however, is that if you can tap into this power, you will broaden your horizons and impact the world far more than you are likely doing today. The starting point of connecting with this energy is using your mind to think about the fact that it exists. Once you do this, you will leave behind the bondage of your mind and begin to connect with something more.
While everyone wants to be happy and successful and make an impact on the world, none of us can do any of these things if we are in bondage. In the Hindi language, a mind that is bound by attachments, desires, and dreams for something different is called “pashu.” “Pashu” is also the word for “animal” in the Hindi language and the root of this word “pash” means “rope.” Animals are tied up physically and most humans are tied up mentally. Most of us are bound by attachments to material goods, people, titles, and other things that aren’t spiritual in nature. Men and animals can both be bound: an animal may be bound by a rope but most people are bound by their own minds and this is what keeps them down.
In Hindi the word “Pashupatinath” means “Lord of the Animals.” The Hindu religion believes that people are born with the possibility and ability to become pashupatinath, lord of the animal within. This signifies that unless you are awakened, you will never be a master of the senses of your mind. The objective of human life is Shiva–to rise above the mind and senses. When you are the master of your mind you are not a slave to your mind. Most people are bound by a mind that clings to physical things and sensations and doesn’t look beyond this. In the Bible, Jesus said that if you have eyes then see and if you have ears then listen to me. There are, of course, many interpretations of this statement but when he made this statement, he was not speaking to deaf and blind people. What I believe he was saying was that it was important to see the spiritual side of the world and not just what the senses show in the physical realm.
We look around us and all we see is separateness. We see people different from ourselves. We see people of different religions and races. We see people who are poor and those who are rich. We see people we like and people we dislike. We try and figure out how we fit in with the people, places, and things around us. We try and see how things are similar to us and how some things are different. We continually desire more and more material goods. We look for approval from others. We give others approval and we give others disapproval. The fact is that we are constantly and consistently looking for differences around us. However, when you study all religions and the people who make the most impact on the world, there is something that is similar to all of them. They are all tapping into and communicating something spiritual in nature that makes us all feel connected. There is a oneness out there to all things that many of us are simply ignoring. We need to tap into this oneness because it’s through this oneness that we find true power.
The more you concentrate on what is separate and different from you, the more suffering you are likely to experience. Suffering comes when we concentrate on differences and not similarities and finding common ground. We like people and are friends with certain individuals because we see commonality and share a “oneness.” The most popular people are generally those who find commonality between themselves and others, not differences. Life and happiness is based around tapping into this “oneness” and spiritual side of what is and what can be.
Your life will take on new power when you tap into this oneness and spiritual side of things. This is when you will begin to matter and when you will begin to count. The more we do the right thing, the more we see our connection with all human beings and our oneness, the more we really use our eyes and ears to see the truth of all things, the more we will leave an incredible mark on the world–regardless of what we do. You need to be in harmony with this spirit that pervades everything and use it to make an impact on the world. I don’t understand this spirit any more than you do; however, what I do know is that it is an incredibly powerful thing and something the greatest figures that are remembered in every walk of life can really tap into and that they understand.
I encourage you to tap into this power and find this in your career and life as well.
Recognize a pervasive, universal spirit or oneness, and harmonize with it in order to leave a lasting mark on the world. Many people may be intelligent or popular, yet fail to leave their mark because they lack this sense of oneness. People with a developed sense of universality can touch others in a unique way and change the world in a way that others cannot. Tap into this sense of universality to unlock your true power and potential.