INTRODUCTION

THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM?


War and poverty are caused, not by "selfish others,"
but by our own reactions to them.
If we wish to change the world, we must first change ourselves.

Humankind is poised on the brink of an evolutionary leap. In the last few decades, we have become increasingly aware of the source of our inner peace and enrichment. Depending on our personal background, we express this great discovery differently. The practical, down-to-earth individuals among us "take responsibility for our lives" as described in Wayne W. Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones. Those of us with a metaphysical outlook "create our own reality" as Shirley MacLaine did in Out on a Limb. The spiritual among us know that "the kingdom of God is within" and follow The Road Less Traveled (M. Scott Peck). Sometimes we simply "find ourselves" through the power of love as Richard Bach did in The Bridge Across Forever. Ultimately, our inner harmony and abundance depend on how we react to our outer world.

The creation of peace and plenty in our outer world, however, frequently seems hopelessly beyond our control. In the past century, we've supported widespread social reform. Nevertheless, people are still starving in a world capable of feeding all. In our own country, homelessness and poverty are on the rise. Violence is no longer limited to overseas wars: our streets, even our schools, are no longer safe. The environment that nurtures us is ravaged and raped.

When we acknowledge how our reactions contribute to our inner state, we gain control. Our helplessness dissolves when we stop blaming others for feelings we create. In our outer world, the same rules apply. Today, as a society, as a nation, as a collective consciousness, "we" once again feel helpless, blaming selfish others for the world's woes. Our nation's laws, reflecting a composite of our individual beliefs, attempt to control selfish others at gunpoint, if necessary. Striving for a better world by focusing on others instead of ourselves totally misses the mark. When others resist the choices we have made for them, conflicts escalate and voraciously consume resources. A warring world is a poor one.

Attempting to control others, even for their own good, has other undesirable effects. People who are able to create intimacy in their personal relationships know that you can't hurry love. Trying to control or manipulate those close to us creates resentment and anger. Attempting to control others in our city, state, nation, and world is just as destructive to the universal love we want the world to manifest. Forcing people to be more "unselfish" creates animosity instead of good will. Trying to control selfish others is a cure worse than the disease.

We reap as we sow. In trying to control others, we find ourselves controlled. We point fingers at the dictators, the Communists, the politicians, and the international cartels. We are blithely unaware that our desire to control selfish others creates and sustains them. Like a stone thrown in a quiet pond, our desire to control our neighbors ripples outward, affecting the political course of our community, state, nation, and world. Yet we know not what we do. We attempt to bend our neighbors to our will, sincere in our belief that we are benevolently protecting the world from their folly and short-sightedness. We seek control to create peace and prosperity, not realizing that this is the very means by which war and poverty are propagated. In fighting for our dream without awareness, we become the instruments of its destruction.

If we could only see the pattern! In seeking to control others, we behave as we once did as children, exchanging our dime for five pennies, all the while believing that we were enriching ourselves. When a concerned adult tried to enlighten us, we first refused to believe the truth. Once awareness dawned, we could no longer be fooled, nor was laborious deliberation necessary for every transaction. Once we understood how to count money, we automatically knew if we benefited from such a trade.

Similarly, when the fact and folly of controlling others first come to our attention, we're surprised and full of denial. I certainly was! When we care about the state of our world, however, we don't stop there. I trust you are concerned enough to persevere and to consider seriously the shift in consciousness this book proposes.

Once we have the courage to accept responsibility for our part of the problem, we automatically become part of the solution, independent of what others do. We honor their non-aggressive choices (even if they are self-ish) and stop trying to control them. In doing so, we dismantle their most effective means of controlling us.

Others only ignite the flames of war and poverty. We feed the flames or starve them. Not understanding their nature, we've fanned the sparks instead of smothering them. Not understanding our contribution to the raging inferno, we despair that a world full of selfish others could ever experience universal har-mony and abundance.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Widespread peace and plenty can be created within our lifetime. When we understand how to stop fueling the flames of war and poverty, we can manifest our dream.

 

 

The essential psychological requirement of a free society is the willingness on the part of the individual to accept responsibility for his life.

- Edith Packer, clinical psychologist

 

 

 

...collectively held unconscious beliefs shape the world's institutions, and are at the root of institutionalized oppression and inequity....By deliberately changing the internal image of reality, people can change the world.

- Willis Harman, PATHS TO PEACE

 

...whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

- THE HOLY BIBLE, Galatians 6:7

 

We are each one of us responsible for every war because of the aggressiveness of our own lives... And only when we realize... that you and I are responsible... for all the misery throughout the entire world, because we have contributed to it in our daily lives... only then will we act.

- J. Krishnamurti, FREEDOM FROM THE KNOWN

 

The truth will set you free-but first it will make you damn mad...

- M. Scott Peck, author of THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

 

We are not liberated until we liberate others. So long as we need to control other people, however benign our motives, we are captive to that need. In giving them freedom, we free ourselves.

- Marilyn Ferguson, THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY