As the world around us appears to be falling to pieces, we wonder what’s happened and what we can do to bring peace to our broken planet. This was forefront in my mind today, as I searched my past blog posts for a bit of motivation. Fate drew me to this past post, based on this article: “Gandhi didn’t actually ever say “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Here’s the real quote…” written by Joseph Ranseth, a speaker, author and transformationist. It discusses the famous quote by Gandhi and the real meaning behind these famous words. It was absolutely perfect.
“And while all of this “be the change” talk is good counsel, if we dig a little bit deeper, we realize that he wasn’t just telling us to lead by example, or to not get caught up in other people’s business while we still have our own issues to deal with.” ~ Joseph Ranseth
This, oh so famous, quote “BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD”, is attributed to Gandhi, but Mr. Ranseth indicates Gandhi didn’t actually speak these famous words. The actual quote and meaning is much deeper. Before we get to that deeper meaning however, we should discuss why the notion of “be the change” is such a powerful one. Mr. Ranseth indicates three reasons for this. It:
- removes judgmental thinking from our minds.
- turns us away from complaining and toward self-transformation.
- creates a desire to transform the only part of the world which we control: OURSELVES.
If Gandhi didn’t speak those famous “be the change” words, what did he actually say?
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This quote speaks deep-rooted spiritual knowledge that we see the world as a reflection of the world within. The world is a mirror for how we view ourselves. In this full quote, Gandhi is guiding us to do the work of self-transformation. In most cases, we want to avoid facing ourselves, transforming ourselves. After all, who wants to do that? It’s so much easier to lash out at the world and blame others for our own problems and failings in life, but that’s not the answer.. There is no doubt that our world is broken. However, Gandhi is indicating here, if we want to change that world, and fix it, we need to look in the mirror, and fix ourselves first. We need to take a deep, long look in that mirror and cleanse ourselves of selfishness and insecurity.
“I try to make myself zero.” ~ Gandhi
Mr. Ranseth indicates, when Gandhi was asked how he gained so much power over the British empire he said: “I TRY TO MAKE MYSELF ZERO”. What does this mean exactly? This means to develop “selfless love” in every aspect of our lives. We only do things for the benefit of others, never for ourselves. In other words, we make ourselves zero.
The current unrest in the world appears as the act of a society that is lost and in desperate need of direction and guidance. It’s easy to lash out at world leaders and a broken system and demand change. We must remember, that broken system was built by flawed individuals, just as lost as everyone else. Until we look in the mirror, and reflect on our own selfishness and insecurity, nothing will change. The current hate and violence, so prevalent around the world today, speaks volumes about how people view themselves. Now, more than ever, we must face the MAN IN THE MIRROR.