By: Alyssa Elbogen

You are where your thoughts are,” taught the Hasidic Masters and many other great visionaries andteachers. Or, put a more modern way: “Energy flows where attention goes.”

In envisioning a future for our community, city, and world, we are often tempted to get excited by action videos and apocalyptic endings. But as the abovementioned quotes caution us, this might not be the best way of thinking.

While it may seem easier to surrender to feelings of cynicism, disappointment or frustration at the state of affairs today, our beautiful tradition teaches us to envision and pray for a time of redemption, peace, and harmony among all peoples and lands. We’re requested to strongly believe in and work towards that end.

If we keep the following ideals in mind, we can aid in the future’s positive progression:

Respecting the Earth

We must be careful to respect theearth – the very land we live on. The fact of the matter is, we’ve become disconnected from the dust we were made from. The word “dirt” is used to describe a lowly thing; “dirty” describes the despicable. But the earth is rich. The good earth is full of minerals and vitamins, without which our food would be sterile; without which, nothing would grow. The earth is not just a medium for plant-life; it is a beautiful and magical entity that spans the whole world. We must remember that our leftovers and the peels of our foods are absorbed into the earth as well, thanks to the natural composting performed by insects.

Eating Healthy

We must remember what is beneficial and useful to consume, and what is not. Eating real food and not processed food needs to become a given. Junk food is the cigarette of our generation. From food coloring and “natural” flavors to genetically modified and mass-produced, there is so much to stay away from. Drenched in pesticides and herbicides, most of the things marketed as edible should be completely wiped out of our diets.
Let’s support each other and encourage organic, whole, colorful, plant-based diets.Let’s get really conscious of what we fill our cupboards and stomachs with.

A Smile Goes a Long Way

We must keep in mind our united fate. “What we do to others, we do to ourselves,” or, in more common slang, “What goes around, comes around.”When we throw things ‘out,’ where are we throwing them exactly? Consumerist society cannot continue at the rate it has been going. We live with many cultures one on top of the other. We’re interconnected and interrelated. We’re all influencing each other and we each have great power to change the way things are, especially in our direct circles and spheres of influence. One smile can light up the world. A smile, even when faked, can eventually glimmer genuinely.

Stay Focused

We must focus on what matters;health, happiness, peace, and purpose. Priorities, whether conscious or subconscious, are what run our daily endeavors. Mentors and good friends are priceless. Just like airplane emergency regulation demonstrates, we need to take care of ourselves first and foremost, and then care for our family, neighborhoods, and loved ones. The ability to focus, while not a given in today’s fast-paced world, is one of the greatest skills we have to help us get ahead in life. By staying focused, we can make a difference,and find the harmonious tranquility we all contain deep inside.