Fixing the world

Omkaradatta's picture

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So many folks (particularly spiritual people) want to 'fix the world', help relieve the world's suffering, without first fixing themselves. They seem to feel a need to suffer along with the world, and if they don't then somehow the world cannot be healed. The opposite is really the truth.

I even heard someone suggest some particular approach, and then say "it's FAR more difficult to carry THAT into the world". So, what they seemed to want was to carry their own difficulties into the world! The world would *not* appreciate it, believe me ;-).

"Physician, heal thyself". When will this absolute, inexorable law ever be heeded? First, decrease the amount of suffering in the world by one: Yourself. This is the best you can do to help the world, as the world is very simply made up of you and me living together. Otherwise, you do absolutely nothing but complicate and exacerbate the situation.

Questioner: If we have to wait for a change of heart, we shall have to wait indefinitely. Yours is a counsel of perfection, which is also a counsel of despair. When all are perfect, the world will be perfect. What useless truism!

Nisargadatta Maharaj: I did not say it. I only said: You cannot change the world before changing yourself. I did not say -- before changing everybody. It is neither necessary, nor possible to change others. But if you can change yourself, you will find that no other change is needed.

Be well first, otherwise you are nothing but a burden on this world. All the world needs is for us to help ourselves. This is all we need, too.

Omkaradatta's picture

An addition...

I would add that if you want to help the world in order to help yourself, that's another matter. Absolutely selfless service is a means to enlightenment. But this path strikes me as being very rare; we cannot really be selfless until there is no self.

Thus, be selfish, *wisely*. If we are self-centered to the point that 'otherness' goes away, the 'self-ness' goes along with it.

Omkaradatta | Wed, 12/17/2008 - 23:57