Gautama Buddha is reported to have said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
This has not been confirmed. In fact, it is rejected by some researchers.
Regardless, it doesn’t change the core meaning of the message and this is what this article is about.
Whoever said it did so to inspire not only the peace of the individual, but of all of humanity.
If everybody on this planet right now, in this very moment, permanently let go of all their anger, hate and greed and instead replaced it with selflessness, then we would suddenly find ourselves in a template for utopia.
There would be no divide. There would be no conflict.
The world would soon be a place without war, famine, poverty, genocide, economic inequality, rape and domestic violence.
Corporations and their stakeholders would invest in sustainable energy and resource solutions. We would see the decentralization of populations as they head out into rural areas to create a way of living more aligned to the natural rhythms of themselves and the earth.
Education would be less focused on designing economically productive citizens and instead would focus more on developing personal, emotional and social capacity and its related skills. Individuals would be more encouraged to follow their creative paths and contribute to their community accordingly.
We would no longer be in a constant state of subtle or explicit suffering because all of our fundamental needs would be met. Arms and doors would always be open to accommodate every individual.
International organizations would be set up to collectively face the ongoing challenges of our species. Those institutions and systems previously run secretly by private societies would either cease to exist or would have transformed into social healing butterflies.
We would run something like a resource-based economy where every individual has access to an abundance of the material items we need including food, shelter, medicine, clothing and transport. Everything would be shared to ensure that everyone is being socially, economically and energetically included in the global culture of humanity.
There would be a return to a more simple way of living with nature returned to its proper place of our Mother and teacher. Extreme tastes and unrealistic desires would dissolve into the melting stew of local community.
Everybody would have their peace and life would be a poetic and Utopian reality.
Now this may seem a little fanciful but the reality is if everybody let go of their selfishness, bigotry, hatred and racism, then something like this would be the result.
That’s what Buddha (or whoever) meant when they said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
If we can’t even get over our own issues, such as our emotional suffering, self-abusive desires and the judgement we have on those who have a less developed understanding of humanity and themselves, then how can we expect anyone—including those who grew up in a less educated part of the world with less opportunities and freedom—to do the same?
We can’t. To develop this world into the ideal state we must first do the same for ourselves.
Thanks for the wise words, whoever you may be.
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Editor: Emily Bartran