Saving the World
Sigh. This inner work seems to never end. But I wouldn’t trade this work, for anything. The benefits are too great. The fruit is too sweet. All I have to do is look around at the confusion around me, all the self-inflicted suffering.
Sometimes when I see the pain in others around me, caused by misunderstanding, and delusion, caused by chasing ghosts… I feel free and fortunate to have some freedom, some clarity. It motivates me to keep doing the work. Sometimes, it breaks my heart that I can do so little to help. And sometimes…
Sometimes, I judge. I criticize. I feel resentment when I’m treated badly. Why aren’t they doing any inner work, why can’t they be better? And then, I see it: more work for me, not them.
Only I am responsible for my feelings, my reactions, regardless of what surrounds me.
How we treat others is a direct reflection of how we treat ourselves. How we judge them, criticize them, feel anger toward them, hate them. If we habitually view others with a critical eye, and find reasons why they aren’t good enough, we probably view ourselves in the same way. In fact, we might be even more harsh with ourselves, even if we’re not always conscious of it.
When it comes to wellness of body and mind, all the healthy food and exercise in the world won’t be enough if we are sending ourselves underlying messages of criticism.
If we are patient, kind, gentle with others, we are probably the same with ourselves. If we are able to find forgiveness and acceptance for others, then we know how to offer it to ourselves.
These are habits of mind.
So in this way, relationship can be a mirror. If we examine our attitude toward our family, intimate friends, and romantic partners, we will see clear parallels in our attitude toward ourselves.
From this place of honest examination, we can bring into awareness these patterns and habits, this habitual inner dialogue that most of the time is so quiet, it goes unnoticed unless we slow down and listen.
It takes courage to truly hear the sometimes ugly inner chatter. But hearing and seeing this clearly, gaining this self-knowledge, might be the biggest step. With awareness, it becomes much easier to make change. To replace the negative commentary, the judgment, the fight, with patience, understanding, acceptance and compassion.
And in this way, we make a double transformation. We change the way we treat ourselves and at the same time transform the way we treat others. How we view others, talk to them, act with them, and with the entire world around us. One change that ripples throughout our being and emanates outward, boundlessly.
This is how we save the world. We clean up our own room. We clean up our own hearts and minds, first. This is the true meaning of being the change we wish to see.