Monday night I attended the Global Oneness Banquet and it was an event that really opened my eyes to society and the world today. It took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to explore the world through a different perspective. Sometimes when we are living our lives we get so caught up in our own little bubble that we don’t realize what is happening around. The Global Oneness Banquet allowed me to step back and analyze reality and overall changed my view on global issues. This event really hit me and immediately made me want to make a difference and help in some way to ignite change for a better society world-wide.
The Global Oneness Banquet discussed the hunger and poverty circumstances that occur world-wide and demonstrated how we can become a part of decreasing these issues. From the beginning of the event we were divided into three groups: high income, middle income, and low income. I was a part of the low income group and right from the start, just by the exercise I was able to see the problem. The high income group made up about fifteen percent of the population, the middle income group made up about thirty-five of the population, and the low income group made up about fifty percent of the population. Fifty percent of the population lives in poverty and struggles with hunger every day. That is half the population! That statistic blew my mind; watching the videos of children with barely any clothing, unable to attend school, working at young ages, running around barefoot, and suffering from malnutrition left me with so many different emotions. I wanted to take a stand from that very moment in order to help these people live a comfortable life. The introduction video was a series of different individuals speaking on the subject of oneness. One man made an interesting point stating “a small portion of the world claiming the right to what the majority of the world produces every day.” Another man stated “people talk about oneness and I wonder what they are talking about.” The exercise of dividing the room into different levels of income doesn’t prove oneness or equality, but that exercise put reality in perspective. So what is oneness? One woman from the video defines oneness as “something that our heart touches that expands us beyond our own limited selves.” I think this is a very accurate definition. We cannot experience oneness until we put ourselves in others shoes and until we are ready to change our own living situations. The question is “what if our reality can change, what would it be like?” Ending poverty and hunger is not going to happen overnight, but it is something that could decrease drastically over time and with a worldly commitment and understanding.
When the room was divided up into different levels of income, the speaker who spoke on behalf of Oxfam America created several scenarios allowing for individuals to move up or down income levels. In these scenarios, skill didn’t really play a role when moving up or down in society. This proved that many people don’t have control over their living situation. Individuals can try to make a better living for themselves but it is easier said than done. Another video entitled Seva Café: Love All, Serve All was shown during the presentation. Seva Café is an experiment of the joy of giving; similar to the action of “paying it forward.” The idea behind it is to develop this circle of giving and to create connectivity throughout the world. It establishes the ideas of “one world, one family” and “think globally, act locally.” Poverty and hunger is worldwide. To put it in a more relatable perspective in Baltimore alone about 32% of the population, mostly youths, live in poverty. It is an epidemic and one that can be controlled if each and every one of us does our part to contribute to create this sense of oneness.
This event had me asking, what can I do to help? We discussed numerous options. One idea mention was to only purchase fair-trade products this was the farmers who produce the product gets his fair share of money back. Another idea mentioned, which really stood out to me, is to be proactive. Be aware what is going on in the community and if it is something that interests you participate in it, don’t just stand by. Another idea is to not be wasteful. Be conscious of your actions and take simple steps such as recycling, and making donations. The little things add up and in the end can make a huge difference.
The Global Oneness Banquet had a significant impact on me. It made me more aware of global issues and encouraged me to get involved. Before I left the event I signed up to receive news from Oxfam America, as well as joining the club Ignite Change. It also had me thinking of what I could do back home in my own community. Over the summer I lifeguard at a day camp and one day every summer the American Red Cross stops by the pool to watch the kids participate in a swim-a-thon. In the swim-a-thon the kids swim laps and for each lap swam the camp, as well as parents, donate money to the Red Cross. It is a tremendous event and when I go home I am going to look for more opportunities to get involved with my districts American Red Cross.
The Global Oneness Banquet event can be related to three class readings, “When I Consider How My Light is Spent” by John Milton, “My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun” by William Shakespeare, and “The Gilded Six-Bits” by Zora Neale Hurston. This three reading, although not so much focused on hunger and poverty, can be related to the ideas presented in the Global Oneness Banquet because they reinforce the idea of appreciating what you have in front of you. This Global Oneness Banquet opened my eyes and made me realize that I take for-granted so many great things that I have that many children will never experience. Just being able to attend Loyola University to get an education is something I am very grateful for. Just being able to wake up in the morning in a warm bed and get up to make breakfast is a luxury so many people don’t have. The poem “When I Consider How My Light is Spent” discusses Milton’s frustration of becoming blind and questions how he could aid God when his God-given talent now seems like an impossible task. In the beginning of the poem is Milton’s struggle, but in the end he realizes that he is able to fulfill his role and contribute in a different sense and live out his given role in life. This reflects the ideas presented at the banquet because everybody is put on earth to contribute in some way to society as a whole. The Global Oneness Banquet demonstrated a world-wide struggle and explained the steps that must be taken by individuals to resolve these problems. The poem “My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun” uses unflattering sensory descriptions and images to describe the speakers lover, but concludes that the speaker would never choose another lover which shows that true love is based on truth and not beauty. The theme of this poem is to not take anything for-granted and to appreciate the beauty within.
In conclusion, I would definitely recommend the Global Oneness Banquet to everyone for the future. It is truly eye-opening and informative. It will leave you wanting to help which is what needs to happen; the more people who know about the situation, the more people who can take action is resolving the situation. Take nothing for-granted and do your role in changing society for the better to the best of your ability. Change is a process, but it is definitely attainable!