When one talks about ‘changing the world,’ he or she is really talking about people, and the effects that people have had on the environment. The way to ‘change the world’, then, is to change people. And wise people will understand that that really means that the way to change the world is to love people and help people change themselves.
I think the best thing we can do for people, for anyone, is to love them. It is such a simple yet profound truth, that I am somewhat overwhelmed when I even think about it, but it is just so, so true.
What loving people really means, though, entails understanding what love really is, what loving people really constitutes, and this cannot be accomplished until we each individually accept that the self, the ego, is an illusion, and that no matter how much we do for other people, it is not about ‘me.’ This is one of the most subtle, yet profound, things a person must grasp in order to really start walking the path of enlightenment.
The problem is that the ego is a wily trickster, and people often delude themselves into thinking they understand and accept the truth of the self and the ego, and yet when it comes down to it, the enormity of the illusions of their conditioned existences pops up again and again, getting in the way of real acceptance and real progress. This is the difference between knowing the path and walking the path. The difference is much more difficult, and fraught with obstacles, than most people think.
I say this from my own experience. The more I understand and accept, the more I see that there are changes in my life, and things I need to do, or stop doing, that I am not yet ready to do, even though I know that they are hindering my progress. But what I have done is to accept the truth of the truth that who I think I am is not who I really am, and that in discovering who I really am lies all the answers to every question I have ever had, lies true and real happiness.
But the trick is that it takes practice, it takes time, and patience, and real courage. It takes dealing with things and emotions that are not usually present in our normal daily lives; those things that come up and surprise us when we feel lonely, or are sad, or are reminded of something that we may have denied or repressed. One must first understand and accept the truth of the truth, and then—and this is key—one must actively live it.
Again, the great thing about all this is that truth is truth, and everyone has the answers within themselves. Since everyone wants the same things in life, when I say that most people do not understand what love really is, and that it is necessary for them to do so, and to live real love, I know that it is not up to me to tell them what real love is, definitionally. Rather, I know that everyone, deep down, already knows what love really is, and that it is something they need to allow themselves to realize and admit to themselves.
This is the absolute fucking beauty of this process. It’s so beautiful that I am still blinded by its beauty, and overwhelmed by its enormity. But the more I move forward on the path, the more manageable it gets, the easier it gets to accept it and do it.
From my personal notes, 7/17/00