I've long believed myself incapable of enlightenment. Daily, I practice meditation, generosity, and loving-kindness, but I reserved enlightenment for monks, nuns, and "special people." Then I heard my meditation teacher say, "We all have the potential to awaken. This is an important belief: it's possible to live with an awakened, open heart; to be fully present." With these words, something inside me shifted.
The next day, I met a recently-graduated college student. She was bright, kind, and capable. Still, her first-year advisor told her not to pursue math. Hearing this news, I sighed and said, "I'm sorry you were told what you couldn't do rather than being told what's possible. I wish I could have been there to say: You're capable of so much; believe in yourself and move forward." With these words, she began to cry long-held tears.
I want to be clear: enlightenment requires serious effort, as does studying mathematics. This effort is persistent and honest. But we spend far too much energy resisting our own goodness, limiting our potential, and then passing this on to others.
I think life is filled with possibility. It's possible for us to be our best selves: watering seeds of love, compassion, and awareness. It's possible for us to study mathematics, awaken our hearts, change old habits, plant gardens, follow dreams, find meaning, shift careers, make art, and forgive each other. Imagine if we encouraged ourselves and each other to see what's possible; to believe in our potential. I think we could change the world.