Earlier this week, I saw that gas prices in D.C. had hit $4.04/gallon — my guess is that these are the highest prices the District has ever seen.
I only fill my car every six to seven weeks, so besides my frequent ponderings of the state of the world and humanity as we deal with our one-sided relationship with oil, I suppose I don’t think too much about the financial impact of the current crisis. (Next time I fill up and it costs me $60, however, you can rest assured that the finances of the issue will be on my mind.)
I know my relatives-in-law up in rural Pennsylvania think about the bottom-line effect on a daily basis. They have to make lifestyle-altering decisions each time the price of gas jumps. But it really caught me off-guard last night when the lead report on BBC talked about how people in other countries — especially in the developing world — are deeply affected by the spike in oil prices. India? Africa? The thoughts flew through my head all at once: how are the poorest people on the planet dealing with the steep rise in food, transportation and other material costs resulting from this crisis?
Developing compassion for each and every being on Earth is tough work, for sure. The novice’s attention is drawn so quickly to terrible calamities like Cyclone Nargis or the recent earthquakes in Sichuan, China. But all that underlying suffering, which forms the basis for every life of every man and animal, can feel so overwhelming for a single person.
I have to think — maybe I could even say that I know — that if my motivation is in the right place, and if I genuinely dedicate the efforts of my practice to the end of suffering for all beings, then we’ll all somehow be OK.