Imagine we're astronauts who have crashed on the moon. We're stranded. We look up into the sky and see the beautiful blue Earth, but can't get back to it because our ship is damaged. All we can do is look at that brilliant blue orb in the cold black sky and long to be home again.
But suppose we managed to fix our craft after all, and landed once again, on Earth. How would we feel as we first set foot upon the Earth? What would we observe and savor? How intensely would we experience the smells and flavors, the gentle rain, or the warm sand underfoot?
This, says Thich Nhat Hanh, is how we should walk on the earth with each step.
My friend and I started talking about immigration, and the difficulty in reconciling the idea that open borders aren't feasible with the fact that immigrants are undoubtedly looking for opportunities that they don't have in the country where they are coming from. To me, it is presents a moral dilemma to deny someone an opportunity that you were given by pure chance. There was nothing that I did to earn the life I was given. I am so lucky to have been born in the United States. I am so fortunate to be in one of the most beautiful cities in the whole world. I feel that an awareness and gratitude of the circumstances that I was born into is conducive to acting in a way that promotes the lessening of the disparities in the world.
I explained my interest in international development to my friend, and my belief that there will be no end to civil strife, corrupt governments, and denial of basic human rights in periphery nations until they are able to ascend out of poverty. I saw Muhammad Yunus speak at U of I, and one thing that he said has stuck with me for months: