Thursday, November 1, 2007

World events and personal change

Recent headlines: Burma Monks rise up again. This reminds me of the relationship between worldly events and our selves as individuals.

When an individual seeks change and wants to grow as a person and/or help facilitate the growth of their soul, the initial thought is to look outward for help and ideas. This is normal as we all need, initially, a guide to our journey: A starting point from one who has already started the journey and is further along the path of change. However, eventually, we will come to the realization that real growth can only be attained from within. Outside help only goes so far because the real change must start and happen from within us.

Using Burma as an example: The people of Burma want change. They plead for help from the outside world but they know that true change will only happen when it comes from within their country. Only they can affect this change and only they can bring about this change, from within. Outsiders can have some influence and offer some guidance, but for true change to hold, it must come from the people of Burma. They must be committed and must stand strong against the resistance to their efforts.

The recent uprisings for change that began in September (earlier, actually) and were brutally stopped in October, offer a personal lesson. Many people within Burma and around the world thought that with the crackdown, the attempt at change had ended. Many believed that the junta had successfully defeated all attempts at change. Some Burmesians (?) even admitted defeat saying, “The violence is too much. We cannot defeat the sword. We can not change. I fear for the life of my family and myself” This is understandable as no one really wants to die or see their loved ones murdered. Violence and resistance against change can be very strong and morally defeating. However, they must look at the big picture.

The Buddhist Monks of Burma know this. They rose up AGAIN. The Monks rose up again and are looking evil in the eyes. The are staring down possible death. They realize that to make change, it is not easy. They know that to make real change, personal sacrifice is sometimes called upon. This is why they are rising up again, even if it means death. They know that in order to bring about change for all the people of Burma, it will not be easy and that personal sacrifice must some times be made. They are putting the good of all above the physical well being of themselves as individuals. They know the easy path is usually not always the best path. They know the easy way is usually not the most fruitful path. It is a hard journey to undertake. To quit is easy. To say, “I tried” is easy, but to pick up the pieces and continue, is hard. But they do it. The monks know that the results will be “life changing” for the health of all the Burma people.

These lessons apply to personal change as well. Those who want to make change within themselves will initially look for help from others in the form of books, or seminars or in confirmations from friends of their quest or even from blogs! This is normal. However, for us to really make change, it MUST eventually come from within. This is not always easy. It never is. Initially, we might face ridicule or misunderstanding from those closest to us (and we all want acceptance) as we attempt to change and/or grow. Or we might fall from the bike of change and want to give up when we initially don’t succeed. We might want to quit when we feel like we are not accomplishing anything. This is the easy way, the easy path I talked about. Change is hard to accomplish. It takes commitment and determination. (Character traits I lack by the way!). It takes time. But change can happen. It does happen. Many people have accomplished it. The path may different for all of us and the journey will be full of pitfalls and detours. However, if you hang in there and keep plugging away, change will come. It is in us. It is a part of us. It can happen and it will happen. Just remain true to yourself and your commitment to growth. If others can face certain death to obtain change, then surely we can face the trivial ups and downs we must confront in order to succeed and gain a happy and healthy life along our path of power. The power to change is within each and every one of us. YOU CAN DO IT.

For as the sky around me is cold and grey, I know that on the horizon … is warmth and sunshine!

(Personally, I, and I’m sure many of you are too, am pulling for the people of Burma in their quest for freedom. If you want to read more about the situation, please check out my other site,, for articles, pictures and some good links to the Burma protests.)


1 Comment:

jim said...

Continued from your previous Post comment section...So these Monks, whom I have the greatest empathy for, and sympathy, are faced with a tremendously dangerous situation, but they are driven to it, they even create it or invite it into their consciousness, one could say that their collective soul, theirs, needs it and drives them as bodies to bring it on, and while it is physical in sensation to them, they are not there, not in the sensations, not in the pain and suffering (even as they really feel it), they are rather introspecting in a search for growth that, if found, could expand itself outward from them into the outer surroundings of that soul, expand themselves into the 'other' and so too, expand their hard-fought-for-understanding into the minds and/or hearts of their persecutors. In a way, this is sort of the way life is, really a spiritual/psychological reality but erroneously interpreted physically due to the overwhelming immediacy of the sensations of the senses. Often for us individuals, and even more so, for us as this or that group, we are unconscious of this 'psychological' sense or thought activity, it seems not there if recognized at all. But it could be, and I say it is, the driving impetus or need, behind the entire physical experience.

Continued under your next Post, these are very good Posts JBM.

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