"If you are prepared to change then the world changes with you."

Creating a better self

“Be the change that you want to see in the world” wasn’t what Ghandi really said.

His actual quote was deeper, perhaps more profound and more spiritual, in light of the world around us today.  The quote we attribute to him is simple shorthand to his fundamental meaning though: If you want the world to change for you, then you need to change first.

This might mean changing your own perspective.  If you are prepared to change then the world changes with you.  If you change your behaviour, so the world changes its attitude around you.

Change in the way people tend to interpret Ghandi is about the pursuit of creating a better self – be it mind, body or spirit.  Change often sounds like it requires forward movement and momentum – the new job or the new health & fitness regime.

But that’s a hard concept to grasp, right now in particular.

The world is spinning.  It’s gone mad with tectonic, gut-wrenching thrusting change.  Change like we’ve never imagined – in our working and social lives as well as our home and spiritual lives.  In this new normal our perspectives have been forced to change whether we like it or not.  We’ve been thrown challenges, and opportunities, that we might never have thought possible.

And it feels overwhelming, frightening and stressful – even if you can see some positives within it.

The thing is, if we take Ghandi at his (shorthand) word, perhaps the change we need is not to try and change everything.  Not to try and change our own world on top of a world full of change.

A client recently told me that he felt stuck on some kind of crazy fairground carousel that he didn’t choose and that was on the edge of breaking.   He wanted to get off, knew how to get off, but was too scared in case the ground he landed on was just an illusion or worse had changed again by the time he did get off.

I think a lot of us can relate.

Perhaps creating a ‘better self’ right now is about finding a way to get off the carousel safely.  Finding a little piece of solidity and calm in a crazy world.  A way to feel still, stable and steadied.

That, surely, is change enough.

What Ghandi actually said:

“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.”

Roo Mackie
Rosewell House LLP

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