Gandhi famously stated that “we must be the change that we wish to see in the world”. It is an often repeated statement and urge towards what must be done to create a better world, but why is it such an important idea? There are a few reasons:
1. Achieving world peace is a huge challenge for humanity, and far beyond the capacities of any one person, but what we can all do is to bring peace into our own lives, and, if we all managed to do this, then we would be much closer to achieving world peace.
2. To talk of a peaceful world but act with anger undermines your message and the likelihood that anyone will listen to you and take you seriously. Our example is our greatest teacher and advert. If people can see us being peaceful and what the benefits are of being peaceful then they are much more likely to aspire to be peaceful and to want to know how to achieve it.
3. Our being peaceful naturally spreads peace out into the world. Our peace infects our relationships and the situations we experience with our peace. When we meet an angry person with our peace then we pass that peace to them. Our peace calms those around us and attracts them to us. Our peace naturally encourages them to engage with us in a peaceful manner, as it is difficult to sustain an angry disposition around peaceful people.
These are the three main reasons as to why we must be the change that we wish to see in the world, and I think it is clear as to why it is so important.
There is a further reason. Imagine that we did have ideal politicians with ideal politics systems and inspiring, wise, compassionate leaders who kept peace between nations and served their countries fairly, seeing that justice is done and that all people are looked after. Would this stop anger arising in your mind? Would all of this stop you arguing with your family? Would all of this stop you becoming frustrated when things don’t go as planned? No, of course not. So, whilst we like to point at our politicians and we like to deplore certain systems, the real cause of most problems in the world is ourselves.
The reason why we do not have peace on Earth is us. The reason why we are not happy is because of us. And a further conclusion might be that we have the leaders and the politicians that we deserve, after all, they are just other human beings like us, so why would they not have all the same faults and defects that taint our lives that we do? This is why it is so important that we must be the change. Because even if everyone else sorts themselves out, if we do not sort ourselves out, then our life will still be a mess, we will still not have peace, we will still not have happiness, and our misery and frustration will ripple out into the world in all our interactions and all the situations we experience.