In one way, it’s hard to say what has happened to the health of our world and the people upon it, not that suitable terms don’t exist. The problem is that whatever picture one paints with words, it points only to a single part of the story, and we’re left with an incomplete understanding of the situation. History proves, along with personal experience, that whenever our understanding of a problem is incomplete, its effect is to breed conflict. Then, blame becomes the solution and inevitably war breaks out — first on a personal, and then on a planetary level.
This global digression is evident in the deteriorating conditions taking place around us. Everywhere we see the gradual loss of even common kindness amongst ourselves; we watch as social, economic, and environmental problems steadily worsen for our refusal to deal with them.
What we don’t see is that all these issues have a common root: we have all but forgotten the purpose of our being on earth. Not only have we lost the way, but also the will to know the truth of ourselves. And, out of this incomplete understanding of ourselves grows a slowly deepening state of spiritual sleep, not unlike a ball bouncing down a set of steps: false purposes produce false desires; false desires cannot be satisfied. The ensuing sense of limitation creates greed — from whose suffering no one escapes, including those who have amassed the most of our world’s goods.
What can be done about this? In truth, much; but we must be wise. We need to realize that what needs to be changed begins with us, as individuals. In short, we must stop trying to change the world we see, and begin the inner work of changing the way in which we see the world. A change needs to take place at the very core of our nature, one that affects the way in which we relate to life.
This transformation of our interior person does not take place by a simple change in the way we think. Our perception, itself, must be “reborn” — as every other solution to our suffering has failed to provide lasting results. It’s clear: we will not be able to think our way out of a “prison” that our thinking has produced. Besides, thought is basically the servant of the desire, created by it over millennia to facilitate the mind’s need to recognize and describe the sensory world it perceives. As such, thought is powerless to change the content of itself, let alone the reality that it reflects upon. Something “new” needs to be awakened within us that isn’t habituated, and that can’t be conditioned.
(Excerpted from The Essential Laws of Fearless Living by Guy Finley, Red Wheel/Weiser)