Gandhi is often credited with saying “be the change you wish to see in the world” or “be the peace you want to see in the world.” What he actually said is
“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.”
In other words, When you create peace within yourself, you radiate that peace out to others. Your life becomes more manageable, people are more comfortable in your presence, and you start to create the conditions necessary for peace to exist in the world.
So the solution to all of society’s ills may be inner peace.
I recommend making a list of all of the ways you can generate and foster a sense of peace within yourself. Not just meditation, but also working on art, playing with a favorite animal, hugs, exercise, looking at a tree or a flower, or doing something nice for someone else. Add some things that are more ambitious, like making a friend out of one of your enemies, or at least someone who bugs you. How would you go about doing that? Quite often, simply reaching from your heart center out to their heart center shifts all the energy. If they want to tell you about their day, listen. Avoid offering advice unless it is genuinely asked for. Most people these days don’t feel heard; allowing someone to feel heard is the greatest gift you can give anyone. When you offer advice, you’re not listening, you’re not in a mode of compassion. Just listen, really listen, to what they gave to say.
Do something today that creates peace for yourself.
This post is part of a new series called Monday Message, based on that day’s reflection from 365 Days to Enlightenment (authorized versions are currently out of print, working on a new edition). Check back next Monday for another one! You can also sign up for the Daily Message on my mailing list if you’d like to receive a new reflection every day. I also often post them to Instagram, if that’s a medium you enjoy.