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
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
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