Weltschmerz (VELT-shmerts): German, from Welt (world) and Schmerz (pain). It refers to world-weariness or sadness felt at observing the difference between physical reality and the ideal state. I came across this word in a book I just finished reading, The Open Focus Brain, Les Fehmi & Jim Robbins. I suddenly realized I now had a “label” for intense emotions I have been experiencing from time to time for the last several years. Isn’t it interesting that once we can place a label on something, we seem to be able to pigeonhole it, analyze it, and in some cases actually come to a better understanding of it?
In my case I came to understand that my beliefs about the true nature of reality were often at odds with what I saw in the world around me. It was not that my world differed so greatly from my beliefs (though there is always room for improvement). It was more that as I witnessed strife in the world, both in individual lives and in the tragic events in places like most of Africa, or in the impoverished sectors of our own country, my heart ached. It was at once the realization of what could be and at the same time what was!
On the other hand, when I witnessed the effort of an individual to make a difference in his or her own corner of life, my heart swelled with warmth and appreciation. There are many who rise to the occasion to make the world a better place, to remake it in an image of love and caring. Daryn Kagan, former CNN reporter who now authors a web site (http://www.darynkagan.com/) devoted to people making a positive contribution to the world, shares stories every day about the successes people bring about often in the face of great odds. Several of the network news programs provide weekly stories of people making a difference. I feel that more of us need to pay attention to the powerful and good things occurring in our world. It is one way to begin the transformation of consciousness necessary to bring about the re-creation of our world in this positive image.
Some will always downplay efforts to be positive stating that it is unrealistic and naïve to pretend all is right with the world. Well, my friends, it is not pretense to believe in the possibility of transformation. We have a choice in how we meet life. We can lament the apparent shortcomings of society to live up to its potential, or we can see within even the shortcomings the efforts of those who have chosen to rise above the sadness and difficulty and claim the highest and best of which they can conceive.
I believe it is a strength to compassionately embrace apparent faltering in our humanity in order to work together to rise to a higher demonstration of our potential. It is one thing to feel sad about the disparity between potential and physical reality. It is another to know that you are aware of it because you can do something about it. Accept the challenge! Find what your heart wants to do. Extend yourself wherever possible to encourage the belief in transformation, healing and abundance. Never underestimate the power of your own consciousness to bring about the change you believe is possible. Your belief will lead you to those places and people for whom you can make a difference. That difference may come as simply as a word of encouragement shared, or contribution of time or money. Whatever it is, it is your belief in action and it will make the difference. Your awareness of “world pain” is your opportunity to provide the salve of healing, harmony and peace.