I remember being at a party with friends, and at this party the weed was flowing and as was inevitable, we were solving the worlds problems.
One of the ladies was waxing about the plight of people in Tibet and there was discussion and argument on the topic, and then there was the point I made.
Forget about Tibet. You can’t do anything about it.
She was aghast and we argued for a bit, but my point wasn’t that we shouldn’t care about Tibet, or 14 year old Thai girls or oppressed Libyans or the Palestine/Israel mess
My point was that we have to tend to what we can or will impact, not that which we think we should impact.
In the alcohol soaked weed smoked haze my point wasn’t nearly as eloquently made, but I held that belief for a long time, and then somewhere along the way I got lost.
I got caught up in politics and being aware of the world and the news and elections and wars and all of the chaos and messiness that is humanity. I slowly relinquished my belief that I should forget about Tibet and the world out there.
I can hear your thoughts right now, how ridiculous this sounds. I know. I understand.
The WHOLE WORLD is out there. How can I say forget about it?
I don’t really mean you should forget about it.
If you want to help free Tibet then do it. I truly believe you can.
If you want to save 14 year old Thai girls from the sex trade, do it. I know you can.
If you want to dedicate yourself to a cause, do it. Do it with all of your heart and you will make a difference.
But think about this for a minute.
Outside in the world we are surrounded by chaos. There is misery and happiness and love and sex and depravity and killing, war and joy and food and starvation, greed and generosity, blatant disregard for human life and the deepest reverence for the beauty of a blade of grass, and all of this, every single bit of it is a reflection of us.
WE ARE THE WORLD, WE CREATE THIS WORLD AND WE CAN CHANGE THIS WORLD
But changing this world doesn’t start from without. That’s the mistake we get caught up in so easily. We think in order to change the world we have to go out and change the world.
This is perception is the fundamental problem with trying to change the world.
Though I didn’t realize it when I said it years ago in that discussion, I instinctively knew this important truth.
WE CAN’T CHANGE THE WORLD WITHOUT FIRST CHANGING OURSELVES
The chaos that lives in this world is a reflection of us, and by looking inward instead of outward we will effect real change.
Consider this. Since Jimmy Carter US Presidents have been trying to negotiate peace between Israel and Palestine.
Peace does not exist.
Peace does not exist and will not exist between those two peoples until they look within and change within. These two peoples have expectations of how the outside world should be based upon their perceptions of what they need.
Those perceptions of need are mis-aligned, and that mis-alignment will not change until those peoples look within and realize their genuine selves and their genuine needs.
Until the people of Israel and the people of Palestine are able to look within themselves and do this, no president, foreign minister, NGO or prophet will make a damn bit of lasting difference in that conflict.
WE HAVE TO LOOK WITHIN IN ORDER TO EFFECT CHANGE WITHOUT
Fourteen year old Thai girls are sold into the sex trade because their parents want televisions and their parents want televisions because the Western/American ideals of excess and mass consumerism are spreading like poison across the planet.
I could go on a crusade to save the lives of these Thai girls and stop the sex trade but here’s the sad fact.
Nothing I do will matter until the people who are willing to pay for sex look within and recognize their true selves and their true needs. As long as someone is willing to pay for sex, someone else will be willing to sell it.
Nothing I do will matter until the Thai parents look within and realize that a television is a worthless object and that nothing is worth the life of a child. As long as value and status is placed in accumulation and things people will sacrifice their children for those things.
You may think that the selling of 14 year old Thai girls is reprehensible (it is) but consider how children in America are treated.
More often than not both parents work. From nearly the get go the child is cared for by others, baby sitters, day care providers, school, after school activities, play dates, televisions, game systems and computers.
These children grow up disconnected from their absentee parents who spend their waking hours chasing the “American Dream” of stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, and then go out into the world and do what they learned by watching their parents and repeat the cycle.
These children haven’t been sold into the sex trade, but they were sacrificed in the name of false needs as surely as the 14 year old Thai girls are sacrificed in the name of false needs.
The problem isn’t just in Thailand, or Tibet or Africa or America. It’s everywhere, it’s inside of us.
THE CHAOS IN THE WORLD IS A REFLECTION OF THE CHAOS WITHIN US
This is why we have to pull back. We have to focus inward in order to change the world around us.
This is what we need to understand.
It is often said that one person can make a difference, and when we think of that quip it is always in the context of going out into the world and making a difference, making a change, doing something that has an impact.
Here’s the truth of the matter.
ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. NOT BY GOING OUT AND CHANGING THE WORLD, BUT BY GOING IN AND CHANGING THE SELF
By changing the self, I mean accepting and expressing our genuine self, the self that is aware, the self that genuinely expresses and satisfies its needs, the self that lives mindfully and steps lightly in the world and with that light step brings waves of change.
The world is one giant feedback loop and what we give to the world is what we get in return from that world.
If we are not self-actualized and aware of our genuine selves, we are contributing to the chaos of the world, feeding the feedback loop with noise that self-amplifies creating more chaos.
If we are actualized, the true self shines into the world and contributes positively to the feedback loop of humanity. That positive contribution builds the signal of humanity, and this, this is change.
YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD, AND IT STARTS FROM WITHIN
If you like what I’ve written here help others change the world by sharing this via the tweet and like buttons below, then go, look within and change the world.