First If all, it is not my nature to be a “mindful optimist,” or indeed an optimist of any kind. And yet, that is exactly what I strive to become. But first, what does this term mean?
Essentially it means that we envision a future with positive outcomes. But on reflection this statement is more nuanced than it might first appear – there are multiple perspectives from which to measure this. For example, are we talking about positive outcomes on a macro level, like the survival of humanity? Or are we talking about positive outcomes from a micro perspective, such as living in a way that enhances the lives of those around you?
I confess I still struggle with the former. After all, war, genocide, xenophobia, mindless hatred, the celebration of stupidity, racism, the nihilistic desire for self destruction and the public’s embrace of leaders who embody these ideals are brutal examples that we certainly don’t seem to be making any headway in eradicating this dark side of human nature. These forces are actively manifest in a large segment of humanity, and it’s very obvious to anyone who’s paying attention that they’re not going away.
On the other hand, I do feel as though the simple act of living ones life with the intent to enhance the immediate environment and everyone in it is a very powerful self-directive that yields real, tangible results. So I think that trying to live by these principles is a kind of mindful optimism.
It’s the best I can do at this point in time, and I am okay with that.