When you look outward into the world and you see the crowds and how they are, you see the news and what we do, you watch your own family and see the state they are in.
Are you impressed or embarrassed? Do you think we are doing a good job overall or do you feel despair? Do you think things are just “the way they are”? Do you even care?
Do you think you could help change things or do you just accept them and repress whatever problems they are causing you personally? Maybe you feel so helpless that you tend to put your head back in the sand and try and simply ignore what’s going on.
The big question is: Is the mind-tickling digital world a fulfilling enough distraction for you to bear what’s happening around you in the physical world?
We are physical beings after all. Are you happy to spend your time, predominantly in the mind? How does that make you feel!
Our parents before us knew we needed to change as a society and they tried everything they could think of; they voted, protested, picketed, petitioned and riotted. They achieved little, nothing really changed, at least not in the way they had hoped for.
We were forced to face the abyss of helplessness in the early 2000’s when over a million of us took to the streets of London to represent our communities and families against the war on Iraq. We didn’t want the country we live in, to wage war on Iraq. Plain and simple. They had done nothing to us and we didn’t believe the narrative about Saddam Hussein and his WMD’s.
One million people. Imagine that. That’s a lot of people. One million people told the one hundred or so British government bods that we don’t want to go to war with Iraq that day. There was no confusion, no garbled messages, and we didn’t send a letter, we went directly, in person to Westminster and we told them.
One million Britons told 100 Britons not to do something in our name and they did it anyway, and then got away with it without repercussions. It was an astounding result. I often wonder how many poor Iraqi citizens had their lives either ended or destroyed at the hands of those arrogant commanders that we shared a country with at the time.
The lack of virtue and authenticity of our infrastructure became evident that year and the value of the way we do things as a whole came into question strongly. Any remaining trust, hope or belief we may have had in the existing status quo had been destroyed by the actions of our own government and the psychological support structure that holds up our fragile systems cracked more severely than ever before.
We wanted change and we still do, more strongly than ever, but the more we whinged or tried to take action, the more the system seemed to tighten up in a defensive response. It has been tough and it still is.
Although it may be good news in the long run. As we allow more impositions, our very freedom comes into question. This only makes us individually more determined than ever to see change, and consequently more people will find the way that works. And let’s be clear, there is only one method that truly works.
Real change begins at home. You’ve got to change yourself first. Many spiritually adepts have told us this in the past and many of us have now concluded for ourselves; If we want to change the world, we have to change ourselves first.
As Jiddhu Krishnamurti told us clearly,
“If we would bring about a sane and happy society we must begin with ourselves and not with another, not outside of ourselves, but within ourselves.”
And Osho highlighted,
“It is not a question of creating a different world. It is only a question of creating a different you.”
Changing ourselves is not essential so that we can perceive the world differently ie. with rose-tinted glasses or in a haze of incense-fuelled meditation. It is so that we can influence our own environment.
When we make enough personal changes, we begin to transform. We reveal higher versions of ourselves and we become worthy of being an influence on others. Then those around us willingly allow themselves to change. They are not being sold to or argued with. They see, feel, sample, suspect or get a sense of the benefits for themselves and then consent to change, voluntarily – this is the only lasting type of change.
Real change is instigated by each individual who is changing rather than the influencer, although they are not unconscious of it. In fact, the influencer is very aware of the process and this enables them to encourage change by restraining their input, rather than hindering it with excess pressure or persuasion.
Changing yourself begins with your root, your foundation – the physical body. In order to change or sublimate some of the more subtle things we go through like anger, fear, resentment, frustration, hostility, jealousy, helplessness, hopelessness, depression, monkey mind, blocked heart etc. we must first heighten the senses of our physical body with a combination of quality nutrition and attention. This helps us find the route inward, to our interior – where all the good stuff happens.
As we transform, so does our world around us. The people closest to us begin to allow change in their own lives and they transform, changing the world around them and so on and so on. We call it the ripple effect. This is how to change the world – and you get the benefit of a deeper appreciation of life, full of love and purpose.
And as Mingyur Rinpoche points out, it’s much less stressful to change yourself before changing the world,
“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes”!