Exercises in Futility by John Cali

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John Cali

Wyoming has to be one of the windiest, dustiest places on earth. I love it here, but there are a few challenges to living in such a place.

One of those is keeping your house clean and dust-free. Especially if you open your windows a lot, as I do, even in winter.

In early August I was getting my house cleaned and dusted in preparation for a visit from Suzy, a dear friend of many years from South Africa. Suzy was going to be with me for six weeks. So I wanted the house to be spotless, at least when she first arrived.

I’m generally very well organized, neat, and clean. But since I live alone, I don’t always “clean house” as often as some folks would.

Anyway, a few days before Suzy arrived I started to clean the glass in my windows and doors. They were a mess!

I’d done this before a few times, always to no avail. Often the wind would come up soon after I finished and coat everything with dust again.

So as I was cleaning the doors and windows, I realized my efforts were truly exercises in futility. I knew before Suzy got here, everything would be covered with dust again. And that’s exactly what happened.

How often we humans immerse ourselves in these exercises in futility!


The title John has chosen for our newsletter this week is an apt description of so much of the activity humans engage in.

You know, in your gut, many of the actions you personally take are often and truly exercises in futility.

On a global scale, one example is the way nations engage in war. War has never, ever brought peace to earth. Oh, there’ve been temporary, apparently peaceful lulls between wars. But never a lasting peace.

We are neither judging nor condemning your “playing” at war. Some of you thrive mightily on making war. Your American General George Patton was such an example. But we are saying it is truly an exercise in futility for you to wage war for the avowed purpose of bringing peace to the world.

War has never brought peace. All it has ever brought is more war.

True peace begins within the hearts of each of you individually. That is why we so often tell you to get into that peaceful centered place within your hearts. When you do, you’ll find that peace spreading steadily through your body, your mind, your emotions, your life.

To rant and rave and rail against all the “wrongs” you see in the world does no one any good. All it does is expand your awareness of what’s “wrong” with your world. And since you get more of what you focus on, you get more “wrongs.”

War foments more war. It will never produce peace.

That is a lesson most humans, most nations have yet to learn–war is truly an exercise in futility.

Having said all that, we will also say this: You can have peace in your own personal life, even if every other person on the planet is going to hell in a hand basket, as you say.

True peace on earth begins within your own hearts. It will never come from exercises in futility.

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