It’s Not About Saving the World

A lot of people turn away from activism because who can save the world, anyway? Maybe the better question is who would even want to try? I’m not sure activism has ever been about saving anyone or anything.

What seems more likely is that effecting change is equated with saving or being saved, especially in times like these. Yet, life is and always has been impermanent so change is our one constant. There is no saving from that.

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder

how other people are doing and to reflect on how

our actions affect other people’s hearts.

 Pema Chödrön

Every morning before I begin my yoga practice, I pause. I pray that I meet each moment with compassion, joy, loving-kindness, and equanimity in all things, in all ways. I open myself.

On so many days—sometimes in a seemingly long succession—I am so unsuccessful but in failure, I return to my breath. Once again, I open myself to the moment, in search of hearts.


I do not have to have anything in common with another’s heart but it is easier if I do. Even so, I struggle not to offer answers but sometimes, my head seizes the moment, and I fall into world-saving.

This can have quite the boomerang effect, especially if I have been clever at another’s expense.  And it will return to me, this boomerang, often on a day when I am already low.

Less and less do I even think of world saving. It takes too much energy, something of which I have in short supply. In the least, it seems a lesson in futility.

Rather, I open myself to each moment that is offered, wondering how other people are and how my action may affect a heart. It lifts me, this reflection, and keeps me clear-eyed.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

2 thoughts on “It’s Not About Saving the World

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  1. What a beautiful and timely message! I felt my inner activist calm down, reading it. 🙂 It’s all-too-easy to feel we can’t make “enough” of an impact – so why try? You’ve reminded us that we are enough, and that the greatest power any of us has in our daily living.


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