The world we want is not the world we have. The world we want is always in the future, it is perfect, it is constant. The world we have is none of those things. The world we want is one in which all things are balanced and fair. This has never been a reality and if it were, we would only tolerate it for a very brief period of time.
The only way the world can truly change (and this is old news) is for each person, one at a time, to change inside and out. This change can be something sought or something seemingly forced upon an individual from circumstances beyond their control. If the world at large is to be different at all, it is a necessity. There is no other path.
Acceptance is a form of peace. Struggling against what is just wastes energy. The way to be at peace is to let things be as they are and be as content as possible no matter what the circumstances. Nelson Mandela certainly made this his attitude while he was incarcerated all the many years that he was. Many others have had to do so as well.
The argument then is: why bother to try to change anything? Why not always let things be exactly as they are in a comfortable, non-resistant manner? Why push back against anything for any reason at all?
The truth is always expressed as a paradox. The truth, when lived, is always a finite point of balance between two things which present as opposites. In order to be free you have to understand oppression or confinement. In order to appreciate independence, you have to encounter being linked. If you are going to grasp chaos you need to recognize order. If you create form in any sense you need to confront that it is from formlessness that all form arises.
Doing nothing seems to be a choice but it isn’t really possible to do nothing. That’s an illusion. If you are living, you must choose all day long. That isn’t even something you can control. Yes, you can stop talking, you can stop eating, stop drinking, you can even choose to end your own life. Yes, you can follow no rules and drop out of society or join a strict religious order or the military and do nothing but follow rules for your entire life. But even when you think you are not choosing, just “hanging out”, that experience flows into micro-moments of how you chose to continue to hang out until you stop.
To observe the world as it is, you need to be in it but then step back from it. If you cannot do that, your observations will be less than objective. A conundrum indeed. If you do not like what you see, you can accept it anyway, you can walk away from that slice of life, removing yourself from it, or you can see what it would be like to change things. Deciding to play the game of “this could be different” is absolutely a game and the stakes can be low or high, important or insignificant, depending on the issue or condition and the players involved. You must include yourself in the equation as part of the problem while you also step away and act as if you were not involved. A contradiction and another necessity.
If all truth is personal (how could it be anything else?) but many people have the same perceptions (a common occurrence) then we together create a world with congruence and also enormous disparity. A person must live and express their truth through any means available, but many people can independently chose the same things at the same time. We call that society. Particularly if the expression of personal truth carries within it an urge to be of service, you are compelled toward that service by finding some way to move toward it. In the end, in life, you either serve or are served. When you have achieved your goals, there is nothing left but these two choices. Expressing your truth as a way to be of service requires that the expression be done without any idea of personal gain. That is, naturally, easier to talk about than to accomplish.
Striving to tell your truth with integrity and passion is a noble effort. If it is possible to make the path easier for a fellow human being, or if any suffering of another can be alleviated or even eliminated through the sharing of what you have found to be true, choosing not to share your knowledge and experience would be a sad mistake.
We may never live in a world where everyone who wants to sing learns to do so in an easy, direct, simple and satisfying manner. We may not ever create a reality where all the great singers have a chance to develop their abilities and sing the music they are drawn to sing for all to hear. We may not ever have an educational system that brings each singer all the most practical tools in an accessible and affordable way, but striving to accomplish these things is a decent set of goals.
No one individual alone, changing him or herself, is enough to make every other person want to change in the same way. Even Jesus didn’t convince everyone, and his was an exemplary life. If, however, a single human being inspires even one other to make changes, to look within and then look outward again in a new light, larger change in the world is indeed possible. Leadership is being willing to stick your neck out and “boldly go where no people have gone before” and tell the truth as you see it while you go.
Each of us is capable of greatness. Everyone is a leader and a ground-breaker. Not everyone acknowledges that and acts upon it, but creating the world we want is more possible when we believe that we can, individually and together, bring to life whatever we seek every day through our thoughts, attitudes, actions and behavior.