Many people’s most common way to suffer is to complain about the state of the world. But complaining is static, it uses energy, and accomplishes nothing. It is nothing more than resistance to what is. We are better to do as Gandhi suggested, and ‘be the change we want to see in the world.’
Nothing is stopping us from taking the energy we might have invested in complaining and negative feelings, and using it for more beneficial things. We can choose to accept our reality, and embody that acceptance by taking the sort of productive, affirmative action that often leads to meaningful and rewarding experiences. In this way we create our life.
To do any of that, the first thing we need to do is be more conscious. So when it comes to ‘changing the world,’ we should all likely start by being far more conscious of what stories about life we share. Because those stories weave together into the zeitgeist for our societies.
In many cases, our national identities are formed by a dominant narrative style. Some cultures are seen as quite happy, while others are known for being angry, or solemn. In each place, the ideas we share shape the ‘spirit of our times.’ And right now, while many great things are still happening, many people feel that things are either bleak or angry.
The world will always generate new challenges, so there is no utopia for us to reach. Progress is almost always created by someone trying to solve some problem. So problems are good. But we have to learn how to live with them in a healthier way.
We can start affecting real change simply by adjusting our orientation. Rather than doing what we have done, we will consciously do what works. If we want people to be in elevated, fluid states of mind, we must do all we can to help each other feel safe and secure, so we have a basis from which to reach for our stars.
Happy people are more helpful, more compassionate, more empathetic, more energized, more patient, and more focused. And all of those things create a great environment for us to live in. That’s why it benefits us to be much more conscious about ensuring that those around us feel strong and good.
For the rest of this month, let’s all leave a morning note for ourselves. In whatever words or symbols we choose, let’s remind ourselves that others will be keying off of us all day. So, like a radio station, we want to be broadcasting things that help people feel good about themselves.
We can still share difficult moments with others. But overall, for the rest of this month, let’s each try to do every one of the following things each and every day. We want four boxes ticked off before we go to bed. They are:
No matter how major or minor it is, let’s each stop ourselves from telling at least one negative story that is likely to foster pity, fear, anger, or sadness.
No matter how major or minor it is, at some point in the day, replace that negative story with a true and positive one that is likely to leave other people feeling better about the world and the people in it.
Resist giving an insult, even if was just in our thoughts. Or, resist sharing negative gossip about others or their plans. In short, we are looking to stop ourselves from judging anyone or anything as being insult-worthy, at least once per day.
We can then replace that intended criticism with a true and positive compliment towards the very person, or group, or idea that we were going to insult or gossip about.
We are a part of what shapes other’s days. Our moods are the emotional landscape that everyone else must navigate. Fortunately, humans are generally quite reflective in our manner of connecting. That generally means we will usually bounce back whatever ball we have bounced towards us. So, for the rest of the month, share nice things. It’s like cleaning up our mental environment instead of polluting it. It only makes sense.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.