I said that that was the very question I asked myself as a child, when my mother tried to force feed me by telling me about the hungry kids in Africa. I knew that whether I ate or not made no difference to them. But why was I "luckier" than them?
If there is any justice in the whole of Creation, then we should all have the same opportunities and we should all stand the same chance. Perhaps it is not down to just this one lifetime.
In the Bhagavat Gita it is said that the soul is immortal and a physical body is discarded as an old shirt and a new one adopted. All for the purpose of the evolution of the soul in realising itself as pure consciousness and bliss.
As a person goes through the cycle of birth and death, the soul will have a human experience as necessary for its evolution; its spritual healing; its remembrance. It first needs to become aware of, and observe, its false ego, then stop identifying with it ... however the ego does not go down without a fight.
The Gaudya Vaisnava scriptures of India are a philosophy and practice that largely impacted my life. Then much of these are not my own thoughts (although I think about them and interpret them from my own angle of vision).
The Gita explains that spiritual merit from one lifetime is accumulated and a determinant factor of your destiny in the next lifetime, while karma is the accumulated debt incurred by worldly deeds (rather than service) and largely determines your fortune during the next incarnation. I like this concept, because it makes things, um, fair.
Accumulated spiritual merit will also determine the soul's level of consciousness in the next lifetime and its relative physical manifestation. The Indian sage Bhakti Raksak Sridhar said life could never develop from non-life; it is consciousness that evolves first, determining what kind of body will be required/acquired. And so we have evolved. Meanwhile, advancements in molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics over the past fifty years are gradually proving Darwin's theory of evolution, which is based on natural selection, wrong.
The sage Bhakti Govinda Sundar explained that consciousness infuses everything, in gradation: stone; plants; aquatics and birds; mammals; humans who live solely for the purpose of eating, sleeping, mating and defending; human beings who are curious about Self and Purpose; and the enlightened ones, who shine the light of consciousness by their mere Presence.
If we could see a world where everything is conscious, where we all form part of one organism, where we are all connected, where we are one yet we are many ... how would that change how we live our lives?
The Acintya Bheda Abheda Tattva philosophy, which embraces all within the Absolute, says we are simultaneously One and Different. Then what, ultimately, is the One? The One is the cosmic dance and the cosmic dancer that don't exist without each other; we are part and parcel of the Absolute, every "thing" is conscious and, therefore, has personality.
Simultaneously, the story is based on the irresistible power of love, just as the Song of Solomon inspired followers of the Jewish and Christian mystical traditions to open their hearts intimately to The Absolute-God-"Krishna", for love is the positively charged energy, or positive force, in the Universe.
Krishna also plays with demons, and defeats them; they are not his enemies, they exist to part-take in his play; good and bad only exist in a world of duality. Yet fear is the opposing force in the Universe.
Our entire lives are an interplay of love-driven and fear-driven thoughts, words and deeds; a battle of opposing forces as we journey from darkness into the light along our evolution of consciousness.
When everything springs from the same source and is destined to the same end, it's the journey that makes the difference.
Then 2016 and beyond is to journey through each moment with conscious presence and with love, loosely translated as "with curiosity and playfulness!"
Happy new beginnings :)