To an Inmate: Seeking Change

by Robert Wolfe on April 11th, 2014

[excerpts from Living Nonduality]

​And, yes, to add to the frustration are these many insensitive (if not unkind or cruel) and self-centered (if not selfish and inconsiderate) persons we are obliged to interact with. How can we help them to comprehend that there is a more life-enhancing way to live? The obvious answer is to “start at home”; set an example. I liked your line from Dr.Hora: when it comes to the much-vaunted virtue of compassion, are we “speaking from our filing cabinet”, or are we talking about “hands-on” application? Are we “visualizing” love of “fellow man”, as you again evoked Hora; if so, any result will be a fantasy too.
If it is a reformation that I’m after, am I more likely to make progress in reshaping others or to shape-up myself ?

Generally speaking, changes in an individual can be from forces within or from forces without. That is,one might be inspired or self-motivated to make a change; or one might be coerced or outwardly constrained to make a change. In the former instance, it is usually because of a conviction that this is the proper or correct thing to do; in the latter case, it is usually because it is the presently expedient or temporarily acceptable thing to do. In other words, we believe in the rightfulness of our self-motivated changes; but this is not often the case with changes that are imposed upon us from outside forces.

So societal change is not only dependent upon your change, but upon inward change as opposed to outward pressure. Only the former is real change, because it will be sustained even when it appears not to be expedient.

A truly changed society will be a society of changed individuals; truly changed, inwardly changed.

When we realize this, we end our external speculation as to how the society might function if others were to change. We focus  all of our attention on our individual internal change so that what we personally bring to society is of a radical departure.

Therefore, society can (realistically) be expected to change only to the extent that I can be expected to change. Put another way, change in society begins with me. Conversely, where there has been no radical change in me, there has been no radical change in society. 

Therefore, I consider that transmitting the dharma is the most politically/socially radical activity one can be involved in. 

How are you to convey this truth to others, if it is not irrefutably established in your own consciousness? 

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