A Universal Blessing

A Universal Blessing

Globalisation is steaming ahead like the fastest Cunard liner winning the Blue Riband on the Atlantic. Trade globalisation appears to have receded because of the spat between East and West. In practice, the need to globalise – everything including trade – is as great as ever, and as for travel, for education, for technology transfer, no anti-globalisation is going to stop them. Maybe we are approaching globalisation the wrong way round? Trade is vital to the economic development of the world with its new demands for climate, agriculture and health. Globalisation is essentially about people, not things.

Attempts have long been in progress to reduce and eliminate the barriers between people. Racism, sexism, ageism, denial of others’ beliefs, both social and religious, and uncalled for discrimination of any sort are now outlawed in many parts of the world. And not before time. There is still a long way to go. How could we make globalisation useful while at the same time maintaining the special cultures and indigenous quirks that make such a galaxy of joy for us all?

Increasingly the world’s population is becoming aware that whatever objective we have for our lives and whatever our belief about an after-life, the thing we actually have control of is ourselves, our here and now. I notice this in the increasing use of what I call ‘blessing-like phrases’. There are the traditional ones such as Shalom*, God Bless, Segen, Benedizione, and some Chinese and Japanese blessings that won’t reproduce easily on everyone’s laptop or mobile – and many others. Blessings have traditionally been religious, possibly implying that you cannot be blessed unless you believe. That is no longer true, even if it ever was.

It is a rather personal matter. Why do I like being blessed even though I don’t have a traditional religious faith? Because being blessed tells me that someone is kindly aware that they are there to help, that becoming a good person is a long haul, and that the person blessing me is on my side in the struggle to improve. Perhaps religion could revive its sometimes flagging support by finding common ground for communication? Perhaps that common ground could start with a short Universal Blessing recognisable to all.

I had been pondering this for some time when Dr James M. Dorsey’s** helpful article ‘Behind lofty declarations, major Muslim and Hindu groups compete for power” was published yesterday. In it he discusses the thoughtful Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest and most moderate major Indonesian Muslim civil society organisation, and its role in defining moderate Islam. His article makes you think. Mine is a very simple attempt at the smallest offirst steps in the direction of moderation in religion and life.

Any universal blessing has to embrace peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility and it must be possible to use it idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye. It must suggest reaching for the best, must encompass everyone in the world and must express our ability to reach a level ofjoy that makes life glorious. In fact, it must say something like “Every Upbeat Phase Has Our Rejoicing IAll”.

I didn’t have to research further than that because the first letters of each word spell EUPHORIA. May I suggest that we all adopt this greeting when we meet, when we address each other or when we part. It can become auniversal blessing for all regardless of faith. It can be our greeting of love, of hope and of good wishes for those on whom we bestow it.

I set an example.

John Bittleston

There are other words that might do just as well. If you send them to me at mentors@terrificmentors.com I will print them. Thank you.
*Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye.

**Dr James M Dorsey – well worth reading.  If you’d like to be in touch with him or receive his interesting comments please email him at jmd@online.org 

23 November 2022