Mahatma Gandhi: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
When we look at the world around us, with its many serious problems, including poverty, injustice, war, overpopulation, and environmental degradation, it’s all too easy to become either angry and frustrated on the one hand or passive and despondent on the other. But not only are these responses ineffective at bringing about change, they are also part of the problem to begin with.
In order to bring about positive change in the world we need not only engagement with the outer world, but also engagement with our inner world. If we want to see greater awareness in the world, we have to cultivate awareness. If we want to see greater harmony and less strife we need to learn to become more adept at handling our emotions and learn to respond to frustrations with more patience and kindness than we do at present.
Meditation can of course help here — a notion that Mahatma Gandhi would have agreed with. Meditation helps us to recognize unhelpful emotional patterns and to develop the mental freedom to choose more helpful responses. The cultivation of mindfulness helps especially with the former of these and the cultivation of lovingkindness helps us to find alternative and more compassionate responses.
It’s not easy, but meditation helps us to be the change we wish to see in the world.