November 1, 2013
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. — Rumi.
There has been some discussion lately regarding Russell Brand’s interview with Jeremy Paxman. There was nothing new in what Russell was saying. The points of view he put forth regarding political corruption, corporate interests, materialism and the potential devastation of Planet Earth have all been cited before. People’s discontent with the various institutions in this world has been going on for centuries.
I agree with Russell’s opinion about the importance being aware of what is going on in the world. I just don’t believe that getting emotionally charged up about the issues actually increases awareness levels and empowers people.
I agree that there needs to be a change. Where I differ with him is in how the change needs to come about. Russell seems to advocate the need for people to rise up, take a stance and engage in some sort of revolution. The problem with this approach is it creates an attitude of us against them and there are varying interests and intents within the ‘us’ crowd. Furthermore, when people become emotionally charged in fighting that which they are against, they end up fighting amongst themselves and when the smoke clears, there is no concrete transformation. There may have been minor changes but everything seems to revert back to the status quo or the pendulum swings to the opposite extreme.
Take a look at the history books. A relatively recent example of this is the 1960s Hippie Movement/Revolution. By the 1970s, many of the hippies cut their hair and exchanged the bellbottom jeans for the corporate suits. They became the establishment, and life continued on. Peace, love and equality made way for profits.
Our power does not come through revolutions or marching in the streets. As the mystics, poets and sages have told us for centuries, it comes from going within and transforming yourself. If you do not like what you are seeing in the outer world, the starting point must be with oneself. The world we chose to see is a mirror reflection of the inner workings of our mind. All change is a movement of the mind. To try to change the outer is fruitless. It is like expecting the image that is reflecting back at you in the mirror to change.
In order to change the mind, you have to venture within and sometimes this process can be frightening because what you uncover about yourself can be disturbing. Try this simple experiment for five minutes. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. As your breathing becomes deeper, start saying the words, ‘I am’. As you do this, you may discover how much your mind wanders. On the surface, you may think that you are positive but when you become aware of your inner dialogues you sometimes discover that your thinking is creating arguments and pointing fingers of blame at outside people and circumstances.
We only perceive what we want to see/hear/feel, and the trouble with that is when we focus our attention on the wrong-doings or that which we don’t like, we empower it. Our world is not created by circumstances; it is created by our perception. If we are not in harmony with ourselves, we cannot point the finger of blame on the outside. It is within that the change must take place. We must recognize where we are placing our attention because that focus coupled with emotion creates our world.