Monday, February 10, 2014

Gandhi's Advice on Re-Inventing Ourselves

Today is Monday, February 10, 2014.

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves. 
– Mohandas Gandhi

What does it mean to remake ourselves?  There are a lot of ways you could answer that question, but I submit that Gandhi was talking about a kind of personal transformation that occurs within each of us.  If and when enough of us manage to accomplish this transformation, our human species as a whole will also be transformed, to the benefit of all Creation. 

You are Soul, a spark of God, an energy being who has been sent here to interact in the physical environment in order to learn and grow.  Your body, your personality matrix, your emotions and your mind and intellect are all tools that Soul uses to interface with each other in the physical realm.  When you arrived here, you had already interfaced with a physical baby body, and you underwent a partial amnesia.  You forgot that you were Soul, an energy being.  You forgot that, as Soul, you are neither male nor female.  Your forgot that your true home is heaven. You grew up believing that your body (including your sex and your race), your intellect, your emotions and the qualities in your personality matrix were the real you.  These are only a small part of who you are.   

You have been here many times before in other time periods and other bodies.  You have been a member of every major race of humanity.  You have interfaced with male bodies and female bodies, healthy bodies, defective bodies and diseased ones.  You have been rich and poor, powerful and powerless, famous and unknown, intelligent and dull-witted. In some lifetimes you worked hard in a physical sense.  In others, you stretched the limits of your intellect.  In still others, you experienced a quiet, contemplative existence.  In some lifetimes you were surrounded by family, while in others, you lived a solitary existence, or perhaps you were raised in a family or culture that you were not originally born into.  In each of your lifetimes, you learned something about yourself, and something about other people, something about how Creation works, and something about how God works.   You came here to learn to give and receive love.

Now it is time for something different.  It is time for you to wake up.  The amnesia is slowly being lifted.  More and more people are realizing that they are Soul, indestructible and eternal.  They realize that although the body eventually wears out, Soul remains, and everything Soul learns in each lifetime is brought forward into the next experience.  Now it is time for all of us to reach within and realize the vast pool of knowledge and experience that we have gained in our past lifetimes.  

Now it is time to realize that our thoughts have mostly been a product of our social conditioning, and that we can transcend this social programming.  It is time to realize that much of our programming resides in our subconscious minds, and that we must bring this programming to the surface in order to re-program ourselves. We now know that cause and effect is one of the most important principles on which physical life is based, and that our thoughts, words and deeds all have consequences, for ourselves, for other human beings, and for the natural world, including the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms.  It is time to accept that through our thoughts, words and deeds, we create our reality. 

 Now is the time to realize that our egos are simply protective devices meant to guide us in the physical world, and that our emotions are messages that give us vital information about how well connected we are to the Source, or God.   When we own our true identity as Soul, we can use our ego and emotions as tools, rather than as our masters.  When we know who we really are, we can access valuable life experiences from long ago and bring them to bear on our current situation in life.

When enough individuals have made this transition from ego-driven lives to Soul-driven lives, human society will change.  There will be less competition and more cooperation.  There will be peace instead of war.  There will be consensus instead of politics.  There will be abundance rather than lack, and there will be more well-being for a greater proportion of the population, rather than a sharp disparity between the haves and the have-nots.  The re-invention of the human race will depend on individual effort.

How can each of us re-invent ourselves?  Gandhi gave us several clues to what he had in mind, presented here in the form of quotes.

1.  "You must be the change you want to see in the world."  Change always begins with individuals.  If you want world peace, you must cultivate peace within yourself.  If you want a world that is honest, you must cultivate honesty within yourself.

2.  "Nobody can hurt me with out my permission."  Each of us in in control of our own lives, and we don't have to be victims.  

3.  "An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching."  Walk your talk.  Don't just talk about it, do it.

4.  "The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong."  Forgive and let it all go.  Don't harbor grudges.  Deal with problems as they come up, but then move on, and allow others space to make changes for the better without forcing them into a negative stereotype.

5.  "I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following."  If you stay in the present and deal with things as they come up, the future will take care of itself.  The past, meanwhile, cannot be changed, but if you are pay attention to the choices you are making now, you won't have to regret the past.

6.  "I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal.  I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps."  Everyone makes mistakes, and we can learn from them.  We can always apologize, we can usually make restitution, and we can often go back and try again.  

7.  "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."   Keep on keeping on.  Never give up.  

8.  "I look only to the good qualities of men.  Not being faultless myself, I won't presume to pronto the faults of others."   Try to see the good in others and do what you can to help them, if they ask for help.  Don't assume that your help is needed: always ask permission.  Give other people – and yourself – the benefit of the doubt.

9.  "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony."   This is integrity.  When all parts of you are in congruence or in balance, you communicate well with others and behave in a way that is authentic.

10.  "Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position."  In other words, continue to learn and grow.  Everything you think you know about the world and about life is constantly changing, and each of us has to adapt to changing conditions in order to survive. This means re-evaluating our beliefs and accepting and incorporating new information periodically.  :-)

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