Want to Change the World? Start Letting Go.

Via on Sep 9, 2013

172/365  I Want to See the World

We all want to change the world—and it starts with each of us.

Look deeply within. We tend to think that we don’t create our identity, but that’s not true—we constantly create and re-create it.

Look within and find the preconceptions and thoughts that aren’t helping anyone and try to let them go. Sometimes this can be very difficult, but if we want to understand why we do and feel the things we do, the answer is within us. We can improve ourselves. The only person we should try to be better than is the person who we were yesterday.

Through meditation, we can understand our minds a little better. Our minds are full of preconceived ideas and we sometimes don’t even know it. That’s why we do things like make snap judgments, or be angry at someone when they haven’t done anything yet, or be sad because our life hasn’t changed fast enough in the way that we want it to change.

Preconceived ideas are often harmful especially when it comes to dealing with other people.

And we can improve society as well; I don’t think we realize how many of the things that divide us are arbitrary and man-made.

Religion, political views, money, even race. Humans invented these because we like to put things in categories.

That doesn’t make the categories real.

I saw a dollar bill that had a simple statement written on it in pen. It said, “I am a piece of paper and I control your entire life.”

That’s true—money has meaning only because we give it meaning. The economy doesn’t exist in any meaningful way.

It’s hard to wrap our heads around the difference between reality and our conception of reality. I can say “my phone is black.” But that’s not really true. Black is just a label I’ve put on it to make things easier for myself.

Labels and categories can be helpful, but when they’re not we need to try to let them go.

We need to let them go sometimes.

How can we let go of our preconceptions?

With mindful awareness. A big part of meditation practice is that it helps us to understand ourselves a little better. If I have an insight into the reality of a situation, then I can see what part of my reaction is caused by intellectual baggage that I’m bringing into the situation with me.

That’s the way we can change the world. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

We might sometimes feel powerless to make changes in the world, but we aren’t. If we improve ourselves, we are improving the world for everyone around us. And we can change the world in far-reaching ways that we don’t even realize.

We can do something—it starts with us.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel 'Heng Xue' Scharpenburg is an authorized teacher in the Ch'an Guild of Huineng, in the lineage of Ch'an Master Xu Yun. He's the writer of 'Notes From a Buddhist Mystic'. He continues to study under Buddhist teachers in several different traditions. He runs a Buddhist Sunday School for children at the Rime Buddhist Center in Kansas City and leads a sitting group called Far Out Zen. faroutzen.com He writes a blog at reluctantmonk.wordpress.com   You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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