“Be patient with yourself, as you would with a child who is learning to do a very challenging task. Because there is no task more challenging than improving your own character, and this is what we all need to do, rather than pointing our finger at others. We cannot change their character, but we can become a more loving and forgiving person, and this is what will enable us to evolve as we all are now being asked to do…”
PROBLEM OR SOLUTION?
There is a well-known phrase: “You’re either part of the problem, or part of the solution” – so what exactly would make us part of the problem? Is it our anger? Our selfishness? Our lack of compassion?
Strangely, no. It is not our human imperfections that make us part of the problem, because we all have challenges and issues that make us less-than-loving sometimes. What makes us part of the problem is the refusal to recognise that we have imperfections; the refusal to admit that we need to change and grow. When we always lay the blame at the feet of others, this simply encourages an attitude of self-righteousness and arrogance that makes change impossible within our heart. Change can only occur where there is humility.
Humility is what makes us part of the solution. Humility is one of the most precious of all human qualities, because it is one of the rarest. Humility never encourages us to point the finger at others or lay the blame at their feet; rather it encourages us to take full responsibility and ask what we can do to be a more effective instrument for love and compassion.
We cannot truly evolve until we let go of our arrogance and self-righteousness, yet the ego hates to hear this. It rises in angry opposition when it is told that it needs to be more humble, and this is why our ego is the greatest obstacle to accessing the very beautiful and healing space of humility within our heart.
Our humility enables us to recognise that we are not perfect and that our character can improve. We can become a more loving person; a more patient person, a less irritable and moody person and so on . This simple recognition is the biggest step needed to realising the catalytic power we have to change not only our own experience of life, but also the world around us. We all have the power to make our heart a more loving, forgiving and generous place, and this is the crucible for the transformation we all want to witness in the world.
Within our own heart is where all the work is needed. If we say “No, not me. My heart is fine” and continue point our finger at all the others who we think need to change, then what this essentially means is that we will prevent ourselves from healing, growing and evolving as a human being. Instead of being an agent for the change that is needed in the world, we remain emotionally stuck where we are, refusing to recognise that anything needs to change within ourselves.
We can only evolve as we recognise – within our own character – what we want to move away from. Dysfunction, self-centeredness, vanity, unkindness, greed, impatience… these are the kind of attitudes and behaviours we all know we want to move away from. The fact that we can even recognise that such qualities are undesirable in our character is a great blessing from our conscience.
But as human beings, we also need something positive to aspire to, a role model that shows us and reminds us of our potential; who shows us how rewarding and noble it is to be a more loving, respectful and caring person. We need to have a genuine desire in our heart to mature and improve our character, and there has to be a positive incentive. A role model whom we admire for their integrity, decency, humility and overall character is a very valuable thing to have, because we have someone to model ourselves on, and this is important for people of all ages who are concerned with the state of their heart.
If we are wise, the state of our heart will be our topmost priority throughout the duration of our life because – essentially – the world we experience around us is a reflection of our own heart. As we become a more loving, caring and patient person, the fact that there’s more light in our heart means that we will see more light in the world around us. Aldous Huxley put it this way: “The world is a mirror, reflecting his image to the beholder.”
Another other very wise thing that we can do is to choose a high standard to aspire to, because who knows… we might surprise ourselves and easily surpass any lower standards. In fact, if we choose the highest standard possible, it doesn’t even matter if we get there, because just having the heartfelt desire to be a totally loving, kind, tolerant and forgiving person transforms our heart in profound ways. This is a testament to the incredible power of intention, and it is so important to purify our intentions, so that they are less selfish and more focused on being a blessing to others.
So obviously, the highest standard we can aspire to is a pure heart; a heart which houses only loving intentions – a heart like Jesus. But the reason we often choose lower standards is because – understandably – we don’t want to recognise how much work there is to do in our own heart. But if we don’t recognise this, how can we possibly address it? How can we possibly grow? How can we heal? How can we mature and evolve?
So don’t be manipulated by all the clever political message in the media, encouraging you to put the blame upon others, to see them as the bad guys, to make you believe that they are the ones that need to change for society to improve. This is a very clever ploy to prevent real transformation occurring in the heart of our civilisation, because transformation has to first occur in our heart. We need to stop laying the blame on others and take responsibility, because when we take responsibility for our own character then we have harnessed the greatest power we posses for societal transformation.
Do you think you can change that other person over there? Can they change you? What about if everyone groups together and tries to collectively change that other group over there; the ones who are the ‘bad guys’, the ones who we perceive as ‘the problem’ in society? Will that work? Because that is what politics is, and politics will always fail to change our society.
Honest self-evaluation, on the part of every member of that society, partnered with genuine the desire for improvement… This is the only thing that leads to collective progress, betterment, growth, healing and evolution. So the only question you need to ask yourself is: “Am I willing to recognise where I can make the real change, recognise what needs to change in my character, and then take action on it?” Because that means no longer pointing the finger at anyone else. That means looking 100% at yourself, your character and seeing your heart in an honest light. This is not always easy to do. But it is the very most important thing we can do. That is how we become part of the solution.
Because the problem is the unwillingness to look in the direction which we most need to look in. When we do look with an honest eye at ourselves and at our character (which is revealed to us through our thoughts, words and behaviour), we will obviously see there is room for improvement. We will see that there is room to become a more loving person, a more patient person, a more attentive person, a more calm and tolerant person, a more gentle-natured person, a more forgiving person and so on… This alone is a very powerful recognition, but if we take the next step and seek to grow, mature and evolve our character, this is when life’s greatest rewards come to us.
Firstly, we gain a greater sense of self-respect, the importance of which cannot be overstated. Secondly, we can interact with people on a more humanitarian level, from a place of humility, in which we recognise we are not perfect. This allows us to show our imperfection and be honest about it, and thus our true humanity is revealed to the other. This then automatically encourages them to be honest about their own humanity: their vulnerabilities, their fears, their struggles, their heartfelt desires. Human interaction is so deeply beautiful when it occurs on this level, when there is total honesty in showing who you are.
Obviously, our fears of rejection often stop us from showing this to others, but you’d be amazed at how people show their true self to you, when you show yours. We cannot merely expect others to be true with us, if we ourselves are not true with them. But if we lead by example, we will we see change occur all around us. We will be a catalyst for all those around us, to accept themselves, heal and grow. This is so deeply rewarding to witness. Walk this path, rather than being tempted to point the finger, expecting and waiting for others to change. Assume that it will not happen, unless you take the lead.
If we all do this, our society will transform at a truly astounding pace. We just have to know what to focus on, and what we can do about it. Focus on the character of your heart. And then choose for yourself the highest standard, because who knows, you might get so much closer to it than you think. Aim for a totally loving and forgiving heart, and practice moving a little bit closer every day, or every week. Any tiny little progress or growth that occurs (and I guarantee you it will occur) should be celebrated and applauded, because it means movement in the right direction.
And it is very important not to punish, criticise or berate yourself if you stumble, fall back, stagnate or make a error. Be patient with yourself, as you would with a child who is learning to do a very challenging task. Because there is no task as challenging as improving your own character. Be gentle with yourself, be forgiving of yourself, and be encouraging towards yourself. The fact that you even have the intention to be a more loving person is a beautiful miracle, because that intention is like a glowing ember that can ignite your heart, your passion, your determination, your love of goodness and kindness and care. Just blow upon that ember every day by reminding yourself that it is your intention to be a more loving and forgiving person, and that you are committed to moving in the right direction. You most certainly will, because you are destined to. Just be patient and gentle with yourself. All transformation occurs through love.
Shine like the Sun
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