I am often asked just how we can change the world, fix its problems and awaken the masses? The short and simple answer is that we cannot.

What we can do is change OUR perception of the world, fix our problems and wake ourselves. As we work on these things, we will begin to resonate with what we are doing and THAT will attract others of like mind and/or sympathetic goals.

More often than not this is followed by a “why not” or something in that general ballpark. The simple answer is that we can only change ourselves. To attempt to change others inevitably leads to using force in one form or another which is guaranteed to fail — sometimes dramatically.

The most common flaws in trying to change others usually seem to run as follows:

  • When we are “changing” those around us, we have stopped loving and accepting them for the perfection that they are in every moment. They loose a source of love and we tend to start withholding our approval, acceptance and caring till they start living up to our expectations.
  • In time, we start practicing what I call “Green Stamp Theology.” When I was a kid, my mother would shop at stores that gave out Green Stamps. We would collect them and put them into books which could be redeemed for merchandise at a later time.

    Sadly we see a lot of this in America today where the traditional religious members are more concerned with numbers of attendance and “saving” others while loosing the point in their own lives. It becomes more of a point system where we attempt to buy our way into the afterlife of our choosing.

  • If you wish to see perfection, you have to be willing to see it. Passing judgment on anything is to deny that its perfection already exists. Simple as it may sound, if you need something to change, it must not be perfect.

It’s funny to me that this very question caused a major philosophical schism in Buddhism in what we today call Theravada [ancient doctrine] and Mahayana [great vehicle] schools. Fortunately, they have handled it very well over the years.

The Theravada school has as its central focus the enlightenment of the individual where the Mahayana school is more focused on the enlightenment of the masses and the tradition of the Bodhisattva, the enlightened teachers. I guess I would fall into the Theravada school generally since I just cannot see how one can take another to the Truth until they have arrived there themselves, not that I am there, but I pass on what I have found to those who ask.

So if you want to change the world, change yourself and the world cannot help but follow. Will it change as fast as you might want or think it should, no… but how you relate to all those things you used to see as imperfections will become new joys to celebrate.

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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