The Light Footprint By Russell Simmons

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The yogis, in fact, all spiritual practitioners, say that your presence on this earth should be about lifting up and relieving the suffering of others … not about how much material worth you can gain. This is the single purpose of an individual and therefore should be the driving force in governing your collective efforts. It is when you and the collective reach this level of consciousness that true happiness prevails in and around you.

The mantra is simple; take less and give more … walk with a light footprint. Whether you are an artist, a businessperson, an educator or even the President, the lighter your footprint, the more positive impact you can have on the world.

The footprint that Barack Obama inherited was far from light, possibly the heaviest footprint this country has ever possessed. It is no easy task to lift up these heavy feet that have caused so much destruction and pain for many around the world. As you might know, I was opposed to both wars from the very beginning. I did not and still do not believe that they have uplifted humanity in Iraq, Afghanistan or the United States. As we have seen during the past two years in the Middle East and throughout Northern Africa, the people themselves found the inspiration to remove the mental and physical shacks of oppression. Our country does not always have to meddle in the affairs of others, and we have seen when we stay out, often times there is a much better result.

We must ask ourselves when get involved overseas, is it our pure and honest intention to uplift the people or is it in part influenced by the lobbyists to manipulate a better business relationship for special interests, specifically building a pipeline in Afghanistan, or getting oil out of Iraq? When making these choices, it must be influenced by what will cause the greatest good for all people.

So, I am encouraged to hear that we will be withdrawing all of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013. Of course I would have liked for this to have happened earlier, but remember it is not easy to pull your feet out of the mud. It is with a “light footprint” philosophy that President Obama has led this country’s foreign policy during his first term, and I encourage him to make it even lighter. From the first day in office, the President has worked diligently to change our perception around the world, and so far we are all extraordinarily encouraged by his leadership.

Happiness comes easiest for those who promote happiness to others. It comes fastest for the selfless giver, rather then the taker or even the trader. You give what you want to receive. If you want peace and happiness, then you must give peace and happiness, whether it is in Afghanistan or in your own home. Relieve your stress and anxiety by lifting up for your feet ever so slightly, so your footprint leaves just a light mark. This is the road that will help to promote happiness and relieve suffering for all and this is the road we must all walk, always leaving “a light footprint.”

-Russell Simmons

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