How Do You Want To Change The World?
We see the world not as it is, but as we are. I want you to think – really think – about that sentence, and explore it with me.
Our belief systems affect every single part of our lives. Whenever I review my own life, the path the world seemed to be walking, and what appears to lie ahead, that phrase dances repeatedly in my head. And it always causes me to ask myself, “How do you want to change the world?”
It’s true that when I allow myself to be down, discouraged, upset or angry (and yes, even Corbie gets her feathers ruffled), I am ready to view the worst about the world. I suspect everyone’s motives and easily fall into the hate/ power trip/ get-’em-before-they-get-you mindset that is an unconscious motivator for much of humanity today. But when I put the brakes on – when I deliberately turn my worldview into something that says “yes, I can make a difference by my actions,” things calm down, both on the inside AND THE OUTSIDE. People literally react to me differently, situations play out in an alternative universe with more kindness and less stridency, and I am a much happier and calmer person, once more tilted toward the positive rather than the negative.
At the same time, a lot of Lightworkers I’ve met say, “Oh, but I do that all the time. I think good thoughts, I send out prayer and Light and healing to the world every day. I’m doing all the things that Lightworkers are supposed to do.”
I’m going to be absolutely heretical and say, “No, you’re not.” Thats not a mark of Spiritual Awakening. Positive thoughts alone do not lift a spoon to the mouth of a hungry child; prayers for peace do not feel the same as a physical hand reaching out of the darkness and a voice saying, “You’re not that different from me. I want to know who you are, how we can work together.” The intangibles are only part of what the world so desperately needs at this juncture.
We are in the world. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. And human experience includes hunger, thirst, ignorance, grief, fear, despair, anger – and their opposites. In order to participate fully in this “human experience” it requires us to reach out in tangible, giving ways – ways that will actively touch those who are perhaps NOT Lightworkers, but who have the same hopes, the same dreams of living a life happy and fulfilled, and the same needs for everyday survival. So once again — how do you want to change the world?
On that note, I’d like to put forth this idea: also ask yourself, “How am I reflecting the world? And is this what I want the world to be?” If it isn’t, find concrete, physical ways of changing and seeing the world the way you are (or want to be). Here are some examples:
Turn away from news, Internet sites, magazines or books that only show the negative, fear-mongering, social shaming side of things. Instead, go for media that gives you an idea of how things can and are getting better. Magazines like YES! and the fine European-based Intelligent Optimist are good examples. Check out the online offerings of Spirituality & Health. Find (and share) your own treasures of information that give us indications that the world is more than the standard media giants would have us believe. Stretch your mind with new and unusual ideas and ways of viewing what’s ahead of us. (And while you’re at it, if you can stretch your pocketbook, donate a subscription or two to your local library, and plant seeds of alternative thought in your community!)
If you are disturbed by an election’s results, don’t just sit and despair. DO something about it – this is where “think globally, act locally” comes into very important play. To use my own country as an example, the ultraconservative tilt of the USA is not an overnight phenomena – it took at least a generation to hit its stride, and is only now coming into full view. Take a note from their playbook: start NOW with your local elections and pave the way for more open-minded and open-hearted civil servants, so that the next generation will once more remember that the gap between haves and have-nots should get smaller, not larger, and that peace, tolerance and negotiation are the ways to stop war. We’re at the point where if we do not do something, there will be nothing left to change — or save.
If you feel isolated and alone, afraid of what your future holds – don’t sit there by yourself! It’s an old axiom, but absolutely true: when we turn away from ourselves and reach outward to others, much of the bleakness in our situation will lift as if by magic. How do you want to change the world? Find a way to serve – locally, gently, but with meaning. There are dozens of ways: work at a food pantry or soup kitchen. Tutor an inner-city child who is burning to learn but hasn’t got the tools to hitch himself to the best of futures. (On that note, check out the website www.whomentoredyou.org.) Start a chapter of Adopt a Grandparent in your area, so that the elderly who think THEY are isolated and alone will find that they are neither forgotten nor useless. Answer a phone line for a crisis center. Get a band of folks together and “Adopt a Mile” along your highways. Become a clown and entertain folks at hospitals. Reach out through ecumenical and interfaith groups to find out exactly what the other side DOES think about things – and discover just how much you have in common with the folks whose picture of God isn’t quite like yours. (Remember, God doesn’t really care what door you come in. He owns the building . . . just get there.)
If you think you don’t know how to make changes in your life, go find people who (and places that) understand changes and have made them successfully. They can show you how. If a course or program looks interesting but is more than you can afford, don’t just assume it’s out of reach. Contact the sponsor. Contact the teacher. Can you do some kind of work in trade — setting up and cleaning the classroom, putting up flyers, writing and submitting PR for the sponsoring organization? Can you line up other students, other venues for classes in the future in exchange for participation? Never assume there is only one route to a goal! And after you’ve thought “outside the box” – think outside the room where the box is stored. There is ALWAYS another idea out there.
And lastly? Remember to RESPOND, NOT REACT. To react is to give a knee-jerk answer to whatever is presented to you. Responding is thinking about what is going on and making a conscious decision about how you will answer… whether you’re answering an insult, a blow, a cry for help or a peal of laugher. The world changes minute by minute. According to the physicists’ “String Theory,” there are alternate universes without number, each one splitting off as we make a decision and take our own in new directions.
This is your universe – held completely in this moment, this breath. How do you want to change the world? How do you want to shape it in the months and years to come?