Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi
I sometimes get caught up in trying to change the world and forget that the change needs to happen in me. Sometimes I worry too much thinking I must teach kindness and teach love and teach peace, all the while forgetting that I must first BE kind, BE loving and BE at peace (or whatever else I wish to see) and then the rest will follow.
The Bible has a nice quote that says: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.” (Titus 1:15). You can interpret this is many ways. The way I like to interpret it is: If my intentions are pure and if my perceptions and actions stem from a place of innocence, then all that I see/perceive/intake/experience/observe/feel/etc, will consequently be pure because the lens through which I observe and engage with the world is not a lens of malice but a lens of innocence. I must be like a child – despite having developed the physical form of an adult and having undergone numerous life experiences, I must continue carrying an innocent heart, becoming a living testament of purity despite my moments of flaws. As long as I am human I am subject to failure — and that’s ok because infallibility is not a property of humanity. It is not my perfect acts that will make me pure at heart (because I can do everything right in action yet in my heart I may hide my intention of doing right for mere approval or for the desire of praise or for whatever other motive) — a pure heart is pure because in it abides no malicious intentions — but should such intentions creep in (and believe me, they do all the time), our good and faithful friend, the mind, can help the heart be guided back to its pure, innocent state.
It’s only natural for the heart to be presented with what exists – all the possibilities for good and all the possibilities for bad. It is then up to me, a conscious and aware being, to ultimately decide what I will harbor within me.
AS OF THIS MOMENT, I AM NO SO CALLED “SAINT” LIVING IN SO CALLED “HEAVEN.” I AM A SO CALLED “HUMAN” LIVING ON SO CALLED “EARTH.”
Sometimes I can be judgmental as hell.
I say or think things like:
“People are rude and need to change.”
“Some people are so disrespectful, boy, I tell ya! I just want to smack some sense into them!”
“Look at these freaking hypocrites, man, no morals.”
“Ugh, I can’t stand these damn politicians, so crooked.”
I even judge myself at times.
“I am so irresponsible! I am constantly late to work.”
“I can never do anything right.”
“I am so out of shape. I have to be more disciplined.”
“I am so dumb. I will never get anywhere in this life.”
All these thoughts, all these mean, condemning words I have allowed to abide in me have become basis for my perception. I have allowed my mind to be receptive to and my heart to feel that these negative words and thoughts I profess are real and true. I have allowed my inner space to be infiltrated by negative conclusions. (I am using the word “negative” here for lack of a better word… I can’t think of a more appropriate word right now to refer to the “yuckiness” I have allowed to abide in the space of my being).
I must be the change. If the change does not happen within me, even if everyone else in the world has already changed, I will not see it or realize it because the filter of my perception is set to the channel of malice and not the channel of innocence. The moment that I change my perception, inevitably my world will change. But it can’t be a half-assed change – it has to be fully real.
I can fool my spectators and become like an actor in the theater who plays the role of a hero, but I cannot deceive myself in thinking I am truly the hero I know I am pretending to be.
I must truly embody that which I wish be.
If I want peace – I must be in tune with peace.
If I want patience – I must be in tune with patience.
If I want kindness – I must be in tune with kindness.
If I want understanding – I must be in tune with understanding.
If I want innocence, I must be in tune with innocence.
How could I experience peace if I am in tune with war?
How could I experience understanding if I am in tune with ignorance?
I must channel my experience.
I must be that which I wish to see.
Once I am that which I wish to see, it will not matter if someone says to me: “Psst. Hey. Look. See that rude, greedy, lustful, prideful, cheating, lying, phony, unworthy person? Look how terrible he or she is!” Because the moment I am what I wish to see, when I look out at the world I will not see rude, greedy, lustful, prideful, cheating, lying, phony, unworthy, terrible people. Instead, I will see kindness, sharing, sincerity, humility, honesty, truth, reality, worthiness, wonderful, people. Additionally, I will see love. I will see friendship. I will see compassion. I will see forgiveness. I will see understanding. I will see beauty. I will see life. I will see perfection.
I could then respond saying. “Hm. I hear what you are saying. I do not deny the existence of your claims but I do not see it as you see it because in the space of my being I have made the conscious choice to abide in perception of the good, the beautiful, and the blameless, because that is how I wish my world be.”
I am not denying the existence of the bad, the ugly and the guilty.
Let what IS – BE.
I accept all that IS, and as a conscious, aware being, I choose to embrace, be, perceive and act through that which is good. May in goodness I abide and be.
BUT TO RAP UP THIS DISCUSSION FOR NOW….
I am not saying “Let’s be passive about everything and ignore and PRETEND there ISN’T any bad out there.” What I am saying is: If you are conscious and aware, choose the good and cast away the bad. If harboring condemning ideas in your mind such as “people are rude” make you see the world as a bad place, consciously make the effort to harbor loving-kind ideas such as “if there is such a thing as rude people, let ME BE KIND, that there be one less rude person in the world.”
I will embrace and cultivate tools such as patience, perseverance, kindness, forgiveness, understanding or any other helpful tool that will enable me to be the change. Will I succeed 100% of the time? Hmm…Given my human circumstances probably not. So if and when I do not succeed, I must be 100% merciful with myself during my moments of shortcomings, acknowledging that I have limitations but not allowing my limitations to stop me from persevering.
There’s a line in the 1997 Disney movie, Flash, where a boy fights to be able to keep and care for a horse he falls in love with and when told “you’ll never make it” the boy responds saying, “Then I won’t make it. But it won’t be because I gave up.”
I may never be perfect, “but it won’t be because I gave up.” I must undoubtedly believe in myself as well as believe in my dreams, utilizing my belief as fuel for transforming my dream into reality by actually living that which I wish would be.
I cannot completely change my world through force or through demand. There’s billions of us out there and it’d be humanly impossible (or perhaps tremendously unlikely and would require an unfathomable amount of effort) for me to externally transform the world to fit the very real and possible utopia that for now exists only as an imagination in me.
I cannot make or demand a person be kind.
I cannot make or demand a person be respectful.
I cannot make or demand a person be loving.
I cannot make or demand a person be in peace.
I cannot make or demand a person be good.
I can only make these things be true for myself and in making it true for myself I can hopefully inspire you to do the same for yourself.
If together, we call forth the good, I promise, our world will be good because all the conscious and aware beings abiding in it have willingly chosen to make it so.
To end this post…
To end this post, I just have to say this about all of the above I just said:
1. All this is just a bunch of words, and words are only symbols. So don’t take everything I said here TOO literal.
2. In the end all that matters is that: YOU ARE THAT WHICH YOU ARE, and not I, not anyone, or anything, could ever define you because only your very essence defines you, and your essence does not depend, and does not require any words.