A gentle man who embodied strength of spirit and loving wisdom said that we must “be the change we wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi lived these words. His life stands as a testament to their simple, yet profound, truth.
What does this famous quotation mean for each of us? How can our lives show that we understand the truth of Gandhi’s words? To be the change we wish to see in the world, we need to go further than wishful thinking. Identifying what needs changing in the world is not enough. We need to be the agents of change… each of us in our own way… in our own lives… with the people we interact with and the work that we do. We must go beyond wishing that things were different. We must each decide to be the living embodiment of the change that we wish to see in the world. We need to care enough to live the change we want to see.
If we want more love in the world, then we must love more. It is up to each of us to choose to live each moment of each day from a place of unconditional love and understanding. This is the only way to bring more love into the world. In order for there to be more love, we must love more. I’m not talking about romantic love or the trite statements of “I love that!” that we make in response to something we like. I am talking about deciding in each moment to make our lives perpetual expressions of love. We don’t need to run around expressing love for everyone and everything. There doesn’t need to be any fanfare announcing our intentions. We need to come from a place of love within us, and quietly, gently, bring love and true caring to each interaction we have. No matter what type of work or activity we are engaged in, we can bring love to the moment… love of the work we do, love of the experience of being alive, love of the moment and the beauty that can be found all around us, love of creating opportunities throughout the day in which we can lift another person because of a heartfelt smile or greeting, or because we care enough to listen and take action. Grand gestures captured in the media or done so that others take notice cannot compare to the cumulative potential effect that would result from the true opening of our hearts to… and for… others.
If we want more peace in the world, then we must find peace within ourselves first. In order to accomplish that, we need to love and accept ourselves for who we are. We also need to accept other people for who they are… without judgment or criticism of any kind. Imagine what our world would look like if every single person truly recognized and embraced his or her own worth, and if we truly recognized and honoured the worth of every other person. No one would feel the need to judge or put someone else down to feel a sense of personal power.
When we watch the news, we often experience a sense of hopelessness about the possibility of peace on earth. How can we, as individuals, do anything to impact what is happening in other parts of the world? We feel incredibly small and ineffectual… but we can do something. We can be the change we want to see in the world. If we want more peace in the world, we need to start with ourselves. Can we truthfully say that our lives are conflict-free? If we judge others, we are perpetuating conflict. If we hold onto grudges, we perpetuate conflict. In each moment, we need to decide between love and fear. If we decide on and project fear into the world, we will feel small and vulnerable. We will judge and attack as we operate under the illusion that we need to protect ourselves from attack by others. If we choose love, we will bring acceptance and caring into the moment. Acceptance and caring create peace.
What do we do when we succumb to fear and judge or attack someone else? What do we do we realize that love has not been our guiding force? It’s simple. We begin again. We recognize what happened, and we choose again. We choose love over fear, and in doing so, we bring more love and peace into the world. Instead of falling into the trap of talking about needed change, we will take action to be the change we want to see in the world.
What are your thoughts? Is the creation of more peace and love in the world as simple… and as challenging… as choosing love in each moment?