It’s not even spring and what a year it’s been already. Unfolding events on the national and global stage are leaving many of us stunned. I’ve been observing increasing levels of anxiety and depression among my clients. Overpowering emotions make it difficult to see a clear way ahead and it’s tempting to wallow in anger or poor-me-mentality. Well, I’d like to suggest that however upsetting the current times feel to you, the solution to our growing list of world problems lies with you. Within you. As you.
I believe that’s what Gandhi meant when he said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is one of the most famous quotes ever. Those words of wisdom are simple, potent and forever relevant the way true spiritual teachings are. Except that when it comes to changing the world talk is cheap. Indeed, Gandhi tells us to be the change. Not talk about it, ponder it or post it all over social media. Words don’t change the world. The rare times they do it’s because of the higher consciousness they’re imbued with, through which they came to be expressed. More often than not the ego-mind is all too happy to latch on to lofty spiritual ideas to feed separation-consciousness, its very raison d’être. This leads to something I’ve written about previously, the spiritual seeker superiority complex.
To be clear, spiritual teachings do transform, when we apply them to our everyday life. If not there, where else? Everyday life is the spiritual warrior’s battlefield. It is where we get a chance to actually embody pretty-sounding spiritual teachings. To the degree that we do, we get to experience their transformative power. And because as a species, a planet, we are one giant living organism whose gazillion of parts are interconnected, if I change you change, if you change I change.
The truth is you can only change yourself, anyway. But that could work out pretty well for all of us, based on the universal law of attraction which states that as within so without. In other words, the world of matter is nothing other than a visible manifestation of your innermost thoughts, feelings and the actions they inform. So don’t you go thinking that poor lil’ you can’t do much about what’s happening in the world around you. In fact, based on this paradigm the only way to change your external reality is to change your internal environment. And so, what you think and feel (and do as a result) does matter a great deal as far as world peace is concerned. Yup. “Splashing, terrific, very, very great, huge, visible to the whole wide word” action is not just what we need right now. What matters most is where our actions come from. All the “peaceful” activism in the world won’t do us any good if it is fueled by ego-based desires for recognition, being right, looking good. As Leo Tolstoy once said:
That is, until we realize it ain’t working that well. At all, really. And so we get wiser.
But how can I change? How can I genuinely become more peaceful, compassionate, patient… and all that good stuff the world is sorely in need of? More on that in part 2. For now, I am hoping you are feeling empowered, as I am, by the realization that there is nothing to change outside of yourself, and that the solution to our growing list of world problems lies with you, within you, as you.
Until next time,