We are teetering on the precipice of change.
We’re facing a global crisis – more than one, in fact. As with all crises, it is a perfect opportunity for us to look at who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we want to go. If we want to continue, then we need to look at how we’re doing things, and there are some things we’ll need to change. Our present systems are not adequately supportive, compassionate, understanding or equal.
Many of us find it an overwhelming task to try to see our way through that to the other side. We know things need to change. We want them to change. We just don’t know how that is even humanly possible. If it is possible, it can feel like a crushing burden to bear.
But as every sage has told us – all change starts with one step – and that one step is the acknowledgement of the problem. The only time that positive change happens is when we first acknowledge that there is an issue. If we can acknowledge it, and accept its existence, then we can work with it. Then we can do something differently. Denial, on the other hand, has never accomplished one single positive thing. The world doesn’t change by itself – we as individuals are the ones who inevitably change it.
So how do we do it?
As individuals, it’s important for us to recognize that it’s not the burden of change that lies with us. It’s the power to change that lies with us. We are capable of changing the landscape of the larger whole because we are an integral part of that whole. We are the microcosm of the macrocosm – the smaller example of the larger. As within, so without. So when we change something within ourselves, no matter how small, we actually change it within the world as a whole. Most of us don’t understand this concept, so we are oblivious to the true power that we possess.
When we change how we relate to ourselves, that changes how we relate to the people in our lives, then to our communities, and to our world. For instance, when we decide to hold compassion in our hearts for ourselves, then we find we are able to hold compassion for someone else too. If we want the prejudice in the world to go away, then we really need to examine the prejudices within ourselves, and where they have come from. Then we need to make a choice about whether or not we want to live that way anymore, whether we want to think that way or feel that way anymore, whether that is useful to us and helpful or destructive.
Self-examination is a powerful weapon of change. It’s the whole ‘Be the Change’ concept, but it goes so much deeper than that. It’s not just about your actions. It’s about how we relate to ourselves, how we think about ourselves. Do you think you’re a loser? A failure? Unloveable? Those are stories that were told to all of us, maybe years ago, maybe yesterday. They’re not true, but we bought into the stories and adopted them as our truth even though they were lies. Then we look at the people in our lives and in our societies through the lens of that story at all times. They reflect that lie back to us at every turn.
If we think that we are unloveable, and we see, for example, a gay person who has chosen to love and accept himself completely, we can hate that person and not necessarily understand the reason why. Often that hate is actually coming from envy. We envy the fact that that person can accept himself. We envy that he feels love. We envy that he has given himself a gift that we have felt incapable of giving to ourselves or that we refuse to give to ourselves. But it’s painful to acknowledge that we envy him, because that would mean recognizing what we are lacking within ourselves. So we decide to hate him instead, because hate is an easier and more powerful locomotive. It’s an engine. It doesn’t make us feel inadequate. Hate allows us to transfer our feelings of inadequacy onto him. So we find him to be inadequate instead, and then tell ourselves that we are superior. It’s a psychological act of self-protection that allows us to hide from our painful fake story.
We want to hide because we are missing a part of ourselves that allows us to be whole, and that feeling of lack is excruciatingly painful for us. The power lies in understanding that we are the only ones who can give that missing piece back to ourselves. We keep looking to our outer world – to our social structures and to other people – to give us that piece. That means we are always looking for it in the wrong places.
We can be in intimate relationship with someone, and that person can love us more than anything in the world. But we won’t let ourselves know that or feel that if we don’t love ourselves. If we feel inadequate or unloveable because we’ve bought into the lie we were told, then we will reject someone else’s love. By rejecting it, we will no longer have what we actually want the most. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So the biggest gift of change we can give to the world is self-examination or self-awareness. That means bringing our unconscious parts – those stories – to the surface and making them conscious, so that we can make wiser internal choices. Those internal choices always spread outward. When we have more compassion and honesty with ourselves and when we get real with ourselves, then we can get real with others. Getting real means being truthful and honest about who you are, where you’re at, and what you feel – what you authentically feel at the core of you, not the lie you bought. When we are truthful and honest with ourselves, then and only then can we practice being truthful and honest with our friends, our family, our intimate partners. When we practice it with one another, we are a force to be reckoned with!
We can’t impose change onto other people, and we shouldn’t. We all have a right to be where we’re at, and the source of every lie starts with someone else telling us that where we’re at it isn’t okay or good enough. So we go out into the world and by example and example alone, and through a process called ‘entrainment’, we then affect our neighbourhoods, our communities, our societies, our governments. When we know internally that we deserve better, then we start expecting better from our structures and organizations.
These are the bricks that REAL change is built on!
We as individuals are an unstoppable creative force. Let’s harness that force to create a better, wiser world!
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