What if there was not one single thing in any part of your life that you had to change in order for you to be OK?
Our habitual thinking says, ‘If only I had more X and less Y I would be happy’. But the truth is, and this may sound surprising, ridiculous even, our psychological well-being has nothing to do with anything outside us. Nothing.
Sometimes things seem like a disaster to us. Sometimes it seems we have a handle on them. Sometimes they matter to us. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they seem like reasons to hate ourselves and the world. Sometimes they seem utterly irrelevant.
They are but the slightest ripples on the surface of a lake of infinite depth. Appearing and disappearing, changing direction and form, they have no effect on the substance, significance and profundity of the lake itself.
Seeing this means that you stop believing the world has to be a certain way in order for you to be OK. And when you stop believing that, you stop trying to change the world.
And then a fascinating and wonderful thing happens.
What happens is that you start changing the world.
And the way you change the world has more transformational impact than anything you ever did before. And it has more impact for these five simple reasons:
- Because you know what to do
You realise the futility of allowing the things you notice and react to in the outside world to guide your actions because your ever-changing state of mind dictates what you see. So what seems important and concerning to you in one moment is irrelevant in the next.
It makes no sense to chose what we do according to what causes us stress or concern. Any calculation of positive impact or worthiness is subjective and beat-of-a-butterfly-wing infinite.
The reliable guide therefore can only ever be ‘the space within’. Needing to change nothing, you find that the only reason for doing something is because it simply makes more sense to do this than anything else. Because it is incomprehensible not do it. And from this place you are unshakable, your resilience is rock solid.
2. Because you work (as closely as it is possible to) with reality
For some reason (and wonderful to speculate why) the human mind has evolved to be both the Generator of the reality it experiences and the Experiencer of the reality it has generated.
It is as though we draw a ghost on a canvas and then run away screaming because the canvas is haunted. Sometimes we can take decades perfecting the details of this ghost. And the more time and effort we spend trying to exorcise it, the more real it becomes in our mind.
Which leads us to many questions: ‘What is actually real then? How can I be useful or make a difference in a made up world? How can I not spend my life haunted by and trying to eradicate the ghosts I am drawing with my own hand?’
This understanding allows you to see the ghost for what it is: your creation. So you can look right through it. And as you look right through it, you see the blank canvas that the ghost had obscured. You know that everything this canvas means to you is experienced through thought and so to a large extent it is not real. Yet nevertheless it has a reality to it, it has a presence in your life. And this canvas could be a job, a blank page, a family, a sports game, a laboratory, a business, a supermarket, a surgery, a recording studio or a free afternoon.
And the more simple, honest realism you bring to this canvas, the more it becomes a space for your curiosity about its truth, about its potential to elevate the communal human spirit, about what you can bring that will transform it from canvas to masterpiece.
3. You are the change you want to see
The realisation that from a low state of mind we look for problems is profound. It is the ‘doh! Why am I only seeing this now’ exit from the vicious circle of low mind to problems to an even lower mind to more problems to.…
And it means that negative emotions like hate, anger, fear, stress are no longer signals to act, they are huge red and white STOP (believing your thinking) signs.
You no longer recreate and replicate your low state of mind out into the world like some human cosmic photocopier. The fear and anger stops with you. You don’t turn it into the blame and retaliation that others would use to justify their own acts of anger and fear.
All of that ends. You know that the single only way for there to be peacefulness in the world is for you to embody peace. The only way to end hatred is for you to love the people who are hating.
You are the change. It begins, continues, ends with you.
4. Because you are a safe space
You realise that no one has to change for you to feel secure – not the neo-Nazis, not the terrorists, not the homophobes, not your boss, not the government, not even the person standing in front of you with a revolver. And this realisation transforms who you are for other people.
You can see that the people who believe their security depends on the annihilation of whatever they believe makes them insecure are just like you in your moments of confusion. Even the most troubled people are safe with you. You listen, you hear them, you see through their beliefs and fears and misunderstanding to the magnificent truth of the person within.
In the beautiful words of Marianne Williamson, “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
5. Because you are using the fullest intelligence in the service of what you know to do
Coming from this place of knowing, you settle into whatever you are guided to do. The chattering mind quietens. You make connections never made before. You act in real time, pulling insights from everything you have ever done, everyone you have ever met, from the collective intelligence. You are you and not you. You are 100% present to the task right in front of you while roaming the four corners of the galaxy for inspiration.
It is the meeting of the personal and the universal. It is, to use Michael Neill’s brilliant description, ‘where humanity and divinity collide’. It is magnificent and, whether it is a child educated, a goal scored, a company created, a novel written, a rocket launched or a simple conversation in the street, it will change the world.