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Sunday, December 7, 2008

How About Changing?

We all wish the world could be a better place. We all look at the constant barrage of tragedy and horror served to us with breakfast on our television screens. We see the economic crisis swamp us with worry and stress, spiralling into a recession that has already been acknowledged by major government spokesmen as a fait accompli and no longer something that might be hovering on the horizon.

We hear about the daily global numbers of children dying of hunger, millions of people dying of AIDS, dying of malaria, and we see the constant bloodshed. Ethnic cleansing, suicide bombers - there seems to be no end to it.

We turn off the news, sickened, or disgusted, or heart-broken, and mainly horrified that we seem so helpless to make a difference.

So we turn to our daily lives, and suddenly we face the banality of keeping up with the joneses, we realize we are throwing out perfectly good food in the trash, we realize our SUV guzzles gas, we realize our children are beginning to show inordinate interest in consumerism, we realize we spend more on one meal at a good restaurant than many people have to live on for an entire month or more, we face worrying about the dictates of this season's fashions according to an outrageously expensive glossy magazine, and we recognize that we have the beginnings of a conscience that is not feeling good, a conscience that is telling us we need to do something.

And so to assuage it, to make ourselves feel better, we send a check to one of the charities, or we sponsor a child in a country where our money stretches fifty-fold, or we do some volunteer work, or donate some of our time to a soup kitchen, and then - to further assuage that guilty conscience, we check in on the lives of people outside of our own orbit, who live on a distant edge of the universe as they travel in private jets, luxury yachts, vacation more than they work, and spend $8,000 for an evening bag, or $300,000 for a car and twenty million dollars for a new home.

Let's go back to the initial premise ... a world gone awry ... a world that needs to change to become better ...

So how about this: change yourself. Begin there. That would be the example you can give to those whose lives you touch, and sooner or later some of those will also begin their own process of change, and the ripple effect will continue and snowball geometrically. Just like network marketing or pyramid schemes, except that in this case there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

If all of us do our part, if all of us were to work on becoming better human beings, not just by spending more on charity, or giving more at church, or re-cycling and becoming more ecologically aware, or doing more volunteer work, or helping to raise more funds for yet more sick and hungry children, but by doing more to really work on ourselves so that we, as human beings, recognize that all of us here on this planet are truly one. All the afore-mentioned work is good, but it is simply not enough, and it has never been enough in order to substantially change the order of the world. We can not let another die of hunger, or disease, or bloodshed, nor can we allow that children in countries that are off our immediate horizons are raised without education. If we are truly all one, we have to work on all the parts in ourselves that do not believe that, and that perhaps do not want it to be true.

All of us need to look deep inside ourselves. This world will only change if we all begin that change by changing ourselves.

Gandhi said: You must be the change you want to see in the world.

Related Articles & Posts:

Photo: Chichen Itzá, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

1 comment:

  1. That's a tall order - but the one that should be first on every list.

    My goal on the environmental front is to truly Reduce, Re-use and (in last place) Recycle... It's takes creativity and effort, but it feels good.

    Another big one is simply being happy and learning from everything. Thanks to the wonderful ideas you share with the whole world - and that I was lucky enough to get first hand through our radio programmes over the last few years - I'm a believer now in the power of positive change. It looks harder than it really is. It starts with simple ideas and changes in attitude.

    I recommend that everyone give it a try - and reading through that list of wonderful articles you've linked into this blog entry is a great start!

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