I’ve been pondering on Gandhi’s famous words ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’.
On Facebook it’s often quoted several times a day, I’ve posted in myself too and it’s been an inspiration and reminder to me many times along the way. It’s is often quoted in reaction to those who post about feeling torn up with suffering because they are not able to separate their own pain to that of others, of the worn torn victims, death, destruction, terror and loss that is generally accepted as given experience of life on earth.
I do believe that conflict resolution in first and foremost an inside job and that when we address the conditioning and erroneous beliefs about ourselves, we come into a state of peace that is then reflected back at us in our life experience. On the larger scale, I also see that the state of the world is a reflection of our collective consciousness, our inner sub-conscious beliefs projected out on others, and the world in general.
And yet Gandhi himself led a peaceful revolution that brought about change. This he didn’t do by sitting on his tod sending love and peace to the situation. I’m not dissing the power of prayer or other such action but I am saying there is also a need to follow the inner impetus that sometimes requires us to take action out there, in the world. And that sometimes these spiritual quips are implied judgements that can create impotency; that they can in fact be a curse rather than a cause, and certainly they do not negate taking a course of action ‘outside’ into the world.
Whilst my experience certainly does show me that the long-term outcome of diligently doing inner work does produce a radically changed and more empowered person, I feel that it’s just too easy to sit back and think that inner work is all done aside from what is happening in the outer world, that inner work sometimes means outer work, that outer work is not less than inner work, and that ultimately they all mean the same thing. Sometimes the change I want to see in the world is a big, fucking NO. I want the world to say NO together, I want to know that people have had enough of the death, the destruction and the anti-life (evil) being carried out on a global scale in the name of peace, safety or freedom.
But then I ask myself what can I do to change things…go on a peace march or protest? Decades of protests have not changed the world have they? Is there more peace – is there less conflict? Does protest work or is it simply adding fuel to the first, giving energy to the dualistic games of the alien mind-set? Even Gandhi’s revolution didn’t really change anything. Or did it? Perhaps it didn’t, maybe it did… certainly his country was soon at war with itself. Or perhaps it was that the real gift of it was to simply show us that we are our ownly authority, that what we call revolution is simply an experience that could lead us individually to evolution.
So maybe the change I want to see in myself is to get out there and say NO and be seen doing it. And then maybe I might even discover for myself that protests don’t work to change anything other than myself. That despite the fact that nothing appears to have changed in the outside world, that taking that small step in standing up for what I believe in at the time will be enough… Enough to open the inner doorway to knowing that the only way to cease hostility is to say NO to having someone else tell me what to do, when to do it, what’s right and what’s wrong. That step might give me the confidence to make up my own mind and express it without the fear of being judged or rejected for my beliefs or actions.
And maybe then I might see that expecting someone else to control me and use my vote to justify their insatiable desire for control and destruction is in fact abuse of their being, their spirit. Maybe I might then see that the only way is to stop this alien mind-set is to withdraw my and cease participating in it altogether. And I might also realise that even one small action I take could well be likened to the small stone or shout that starts the avalanche of change. Maybe, and only maybe, that is when I might finally realise myself.
Or maybe not!