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Kuan Yin: The Compassionate Rebel ~ How to Tap Into the Healing Abilities of Your Chakras ~ Inner Transformation or Revolution?

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      Kuan Yin: The Compassionate Rebel

      December 3, 2013 | By WakingTimes | Reply
      Nitin Kumar, New Dawn
      Waking Times
      It is unfortunate that Buddhism’s most enduring (and universal) contribution to the world has been insufficiently translated as compassion. The original Sanskrit word is karuna, which holds within itself traces of the fragment ‘ru’, meaning to weep. While the Oxford dictionary describes compassion as pity bordering on the merciful, karuna is actually our ability to relate to another in so intense a measure that the plight of the other affects us as much as if it had been our own.
      The term karuna is central to the entire Buddhist tradition. It is frequently described as a love for all beings, equal in intensity to a mother’s affection for her child. However, it is quite unlike conventional love (Sanskrit: priya, kama or trishna), which is rooted in dualistic thinking and is egoistic, possessive and exclusive, in contrast to the all-encompassing nature of compassion. The root meaning of karuna is said to be the anguished cry of deep sorrow and understanding that can only come from an unblemished sense of oneness with others.
      In fact, the evolution of Buddhism in Asia and its spread throughout the world is, from a spiritual point of view, none other than the unfolding of karuna in history. Nowhere is this more explicitly exemplified than in the Chinese assimilation of Buddhism. Few would deny that the defining symbol of this integration is the goddess, who with her sweet and merciful disposition, has won the hearts of not only the Chinese, but also profoundly affected even those who, belonging to a foreign tradition, have only had a fleeting interaction with her. This divine female is none other than Kuan Yin, beloved goddess of over a billion people the world over. Her name too signifies her compassionate nature, literally meaning ‘One who hears the cries of the world.’
      It remains a historical fact that Kuan Yin is the Chinese version of the male god Avalokiteshvara, whom the ancient texts eulogise as the patron deity of compassion. It is fascinating, however, to observe that nowhere in India (where he originated) or Tibet (where he remains the most popular deity) is the latter ever deified as a female figure. In China too, his worship began as a male god, but over time, changed into a goddess and by the ninth century her popularity had prevailed over that of Avalokiteshvara’s.
      There are many reasons why this gender transformation took place. As Avalokiteshvara evolved into the supreme personality of the Buddhist pantheon, with this heightened pedestal came the inevitable elitism. Karuna, however, cannot be and is not (as it has become today under the pseudonym of compassion), the exclusive preserve of a charmed circle, but rather a symphonic identification with the masses, sharing their suffering and pleasure alike. No wonder then that Avalokiteshvara shed streams of tears observing the plight of his people. Now, any emanation from a divine form is bound to hold a dynamic potential within itself and indeed Indian mythology is replete with examples where fluids emerging from deities have led to enormous consequences. Tears similarly are a spontaneous emotional response to external stimuli and represent the outward flow of Avalokiteshvara’s infinite karuna.
      From these pearls emanated a beautiful female as attractive as she was compassionate. The goddess Tara, thus born, has continued her upward spiral of popularity and remains one of the most loved and widely recognised deities of the Buddhist pantheon today. Truly, even though Avalokiteshvara retains his foremost status in the gallery of Tibetan gods, in the popular imagination it is Tara, who with her supple charm, has come to symbolise the tenderness of karuna.
      It is relevant here to observe that Kuan Yin is often depicted in art holding a leafy twig, derived from the ‘weeping willow’ tree, known so due to its trailing leafy branches that droop to the ground and along which raindrops trickle down like tears. One of its distinctive characteristics is remaining green throughout the year, pointing perhaps to the goddess’ fertility aspect, which is further echoed in images showing her with an infant.
      The willow also has a deeper and direct connection with Chinese culture and it is believed that Lao Tzu, the author of Tao-te Ching, loved to meditate under its shade (6th century BCE). It was under the same tree that the younger Confucius had his famous interview with Lao Tzu, telling his disciples afterwards:
      I know how birds fly, fishes swim and animals run. But there is the dragon – I cannot tell how he mounts on the winds through the clouds, and rises to heaven. Today, having seen Lao Tzu, I can only compare him to the dragon.
      Over centuries, Kuan Yin’s visual depictions have highlighted her lithe, flowing form, much like the willow tree itself, which has the ability to bend during the most ferocious winds and then spring back into shape again. Indeed, who wants to stand rigid like the tall oak that cracks and collapses in a storm? Instead, one needs to be flexible like the willow, which survives the tempest.
      Or perhaps, Kuan Yin merely uses the willow branch to sprinkle the divine nectar of life on her devotees, which is stored in the vase she holds in her other hand.
      The Chinese (ever disposed to envisage friendly divinities in idealised human forms) seem to have been initially perplexed by Avalokiteshvara’s complex iconography. Not for them his thousand hands or even the seven eyes of Tara. Exposed for eons to the essentially humanistic philosophy of Confucianism, such images were alien and felt to be unsuitable for portraying the ‘soft’ emotion of karuna, the yearning passion a mother feels for her child.
      The Tibetan mind solved the craving for a down to earth, visual embodiment of karuna by envisioning the goddess Tara; the Chinese genius did the same by enclosing this virtue in the graceful and beautiful Kuan Yin, who was eminently human in appearance and approachable by all. Indeed, she gradually became the favoured goddess of the peasants and fishermen of China, retaining her place in their hearts to the present day.
      Additionally in China, not only had popular gods always been real people who had once lived in specific times and places, even mythical figures were turned into historical cultural heroes who were then venerated as the founding fathers of Chinese civilisation. Unlike Greece, where human heroes were transformed into Olympian gods, in China the reverse held true and if a god or goddess was not perhaps originally a human being, there was often an effort to turn her or him into one.
      Kuan Yin thus again had to change from a goddess into a living woman, so that she could be worshipped as a Chinese goddess. Truly, the human character of Chinese deities is one of the most distinctive features of their religion, and like ordinary mortals they too have birthdays, ancestries, careers and titles. Therefore, even though Kuan Yin is not given a date of birth in any of the Buddhist sutras, her birthday is widely celebrated on the nineteenth day of the second month of the lunar calendar.
      The legend describing how Kuan Yin was once a woman gives a fascinating insight into the working of the Chinese genius and the process by which she was given a distinctively local flavour and absorbed into their pantheon:
      It is said that in the past, there once lived a king under whose rule the people led a peaceful existence governed by Confucian ethics. He had three daughters; the eldest two having already married the grooms of their father’s choice. The youngest offspring however, was unlike any other normal child. Firstly, when she was born, her body glowed with an almost unearthly light so much so that the palace seemed on fire. She was thus befittingly named Miao Shan (Wonderful Goodness).
      Secondly, as she grew up, she wore only dirty clothes and never did display any urge to adorn herself. Further, she would subsist on only a single meal every day. In her conversations she would talk about the impermanence of material things and how human beings suffer because of their attachment to such objects. Naturally worried about their daughter’s detached inclinations, her parents proposed that (as per the Confucian ideals of filial piety) she too marry a husband of their choice. To this she replied:
      “I would never, for the sake of one lifetime of enjoyment, plunge into aeons of misery. I have pondered on this matter and deeply detest this earthly union (marriage).” Nevertheless, when her parents insisted, she agreed to comply with their wishes if only her future mate would save her from the following three misfortunes:
      1) When people are young, their face is as fair as the jade-like moon, but when they grow old, the hair turns white and faces become wrinkled; whether walking, resting, sitting, or lying down, they are in every way worse off than when they were young.
      2) Similarly, when our limbs are strong and vigorous one may walk as if flying through air, but when we suddenly becomes sick, we are confined to the bed.
      3) A person may have a large group of relatives and be surrounded by his flesh and blood, but when death comes, even such close kin as father and son cannot take the person’s place.
      Finally she concluded: “If indeed my future husband can ensure my deliverance against these misfortunes, I will gladly marry him. Otherwise, I vow to remain a spinster all my life. People all over the world are mired in these kinds of suffering. If one desires to be free of them, the only option is to leave the secular world and enter the gate of Buddhism.”
      This narrative of course, is parallel to one of the most significant episodes from the life of the Buddha when he encountered the three maladies of physical existence: sickness, old age and death.
      Exasperated to no end, the king summoned an old and experienced nun of his kingdom. He asked her to take the princess under tutelage and expose her to as much hardship as possible in the nunnery, so that she realise the futility of her desired path. The instruction was tinged with a threat of annihilation if after seven days Miao Shan was not ‘reformed’.
      Needless to say, all the travails she had to undergo at the monastery, including hard manual labor, were insufficient to deter her from the path of Dharma. However, Miao Shan did realise that she was being thus subjected because the inhabitants of the nunnery were under the threat of death. She addressed them, saying:
      “Don’t you know the stories about the ancient prince Mahasattva, who plunged off the cliff in order to feed the hungry lions, or King Sivi’s cutting off his flesh to save a dove? Since you have already left the life of a householder, you should regard this material body as illusory and impermanent. Why do you fear death and love life? Don’t you know that attachment to this dirty and smelly leather bag (body) is an obstacle?”
      At the end of the stipulated period, the monarch, in a mad and frenzied reaction, ordered that Miao Shan be beheaded. As her executioners approached the monastery gates, Miao Shan rushed out of the building, eager to embrace her impending death. No sooner had she kneeled at the stake and the deadly sword been raised, than a blinding thunder rose. Before the assailants could regain their composure, a tiger darted out of the darkness and carried away the swooning girl into the nearby hills. The king, now beyond the bounds of reason, ordered the hermitage to be burnt down with all its inhabitants.
      It was not long before his karma caught up with him and he fell sick with kaamla (jaundice). He was restless for days on end, finding no rest even in sleep. The disease spread all over his body and the best doctors throughout the land were unable to cure him. One day, a holy mendicant came to his door and predicted: “If some person would willingly consent to give his or her arms or eyes without the slightest anger or resentment, the elixir made of these potent ingredients will surely relieve you from your suffering.”
      “Where alas will I find such a compassionate being?” lamented the king. “In this very land,” said the monk. “Go southwest in your dominion, on top of the mountain there is a hermit who possesses all the characteristics which are necessary for your healing.”
      No sooner had he heard this than the king ordered his envoys to hurry to the abode of the recluse. On being informed of his plight and its prescribed remedy, the hermit readily agreed to undergo the supreme sacrifice, requesting them to ask the suffering king to direct his mind to the three treasures of Buddhism and then very calmly proceeded to gauge out both the eyes and asked one of the men to sever the two arms. The three worlds shook under the impact of this terrible sacrifice.
      When he had fully recovered, the king made haste with his wife to pay homage to the one who had so miraculously saved his life. After bowing low before the mutilated form, as soon as they raised their heads they let out a shriek of astonished horror; the hermit’s true identity lay bare before them. She was none other than their youngest daughter Miao Shan. Realising what she had done for him, despite all that he had done to her, the king fell prostrate upon the floor and asked for forgiveness. Overcome with emotion, the parents embraced her and the father said: “I am so evil that I have caused my own daughter terrible suffering.”
      Miao Shan replied, “Father, I have suffered no pain. Having given up these human eyes, I shall see with diamond eyes. Having yielded the mortal arms, I shall receive golden arms. If my calling is true all this will follow.”
      Much sobered by this intense experience, the king returned to his palace and ordered a statue to be made of her, which, emphasising her sacrifice was to be without eyes and hands. Now, in Chinese, the sound for ‘bereft’ or ‘deficient’ are virtually identical with ‘thousand.’ At some stage in the transmission of this message, the two words were confused and the sculptor toiled away, desperately seeking some way to capture the essence of the king’s wishes. He very imaginatively (or perhaps following Indian or Tibetan models) placed one eye on each palm, making the number of eyes equal to the arms, giving rise in the process to an awesome and complex image of breathtaking splendour.
      Unable to relate to the thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara, the above legend provided a rational explanation to the bewildered viewer and helped integrate the goddess into the Chinese ethos.
      The story of Miao Shan represents the fusion of the Buddhist theme of the gift of the body and the Confucian concept of filial piety. In the former tradition, giving is one of the six perfections performed by a bodhisattva (would be Buddha). Amongst the different forms of gifts, that of one’s own body is the best. The only difference is that while the bodhisattvas give up their bodies in order to feed or save sentient beings regardless of any formal relationship with them, the fact that Miao Shan does so for her father is where the Confucian model comes in.
      In the former context, a tale is narrated of the Buddha, who in one of his previous births was a pigeon. He saw a man lose his way during a snowstorm, driven to the point of starvation. The pigeon gathered twigs and leaves, made a fire and threw himself wholeheartedly into it, to become food for the distressed soul. It is this lofty ideal that Kuan Yin was following, a self-sacrifice par excellence, motivated by pure (selfless) and indiscriminate compassion (karuna).
      On the other hand, Kuan Yin as Miao Shan gives a bold and provocative message, challenging Confucian value systems as delineated in the ‘Classic of Filial Piety’ (published by the emperor Xuan in CE 722). Her life glorifies austerity, celibacy and renunciation, which, as per Buddhism, are highly valued (against the householder, who is necessary in Confucianism for creating offspring to perpetuate the lineage). In times of the Ming for example, one could achieve religious sanctification by performing one’s domestic obligations to the fullest degree. Eventually, Chinese of all social strata and both sexes came to know Kuan Yin as the strong-willed yet filial girl, who refused to get married and rebelled against stifling authority.
      The goddess Kuan Yin is a symbol, not only of the Chinese assimilation of Buddhism, but also of the many hued flavour of karuna, expressed through the softer wisdom of a woman. She is a pointer to the re-emergence of the goddess and the gender transformation of Avalokiteshvara in China represents perhaps a universal imperative, which is similarly reflected in the emanation of the goddess Tara from the compassionate tears of the same bodhisattva. Though often images are encountered which show her sporting a moustache, emphasising masculinity, this is negated by the softness of her demeanour.
      Can anything be more subtly female than her graceful poise – modest and inward looking, yet potent enough to generate and compassionately nourish the whole outside world? In the words of Martin Palmer: “The divine feminine cannot be suppressed for long. In China, it emerged by the transformation of the male into the female,” only god (or the goddess) knows how it will transpire in other cultures.
      References and Further Reading:
      Cabezon, Jose Ignacio, Buddhism, Sexuality, and Gender, 1992.
      Farrer-Halls, Gill, The Feminine Face of Buddhism, 2002.
      Jones, Lindsay (ed), Encyclopedia of Religion (Previously Edited by Mircea Eliade) 15 volumes, 2005.
      Keown, Damien, Oxford Dictionary of Buddhism, 2003.
      Kinsley, David, The Goddesses’ Mirror Visions of the Divine from East and West, 1995.
      Palmer, Martin and Jay Ramsay, with Man-Ho Kwok, Kuan Yin Myths and Prophecies of the Chinese Goddess of Compassion, 1995.
      Phillips, Kathy J. (Photography by Joseph Singer), This Isn’t a Picture I’m Holding: Kuan Yin, 2004.
      Watson, Burton (translator), The Lotus Sutra, 1999.
      Wright, Arthur F, Buddhism in Chinese History, 1959.
      **The above is reprinted with permission of the author and was originally published on www.exoticindiaart.com. Many articles on the living traditions of Indian art, culture and aesthetics are available at the site.**
      The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 99 (November-December 2006).
      If you appreciated this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.
      © New Dawn Magazine and the respective author.
      © Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission granted to freely distribute this article for non-commercial purposes if unedited and copied in full, including this notice.
      © Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission to re-send, post and place on web sites for non-commercial purposes, and if shown only in its entirety with no changes or additions. This notice must accompany all re-posting.

      How to Tap Into the Healing Abilities of Your Chakras

      December 3, 2013 | By Waking Times | 3 Replies
      WIKI-chakras-Peter WeltevredeOriginalAnna Hunt, Staff Writer
      Waking Times
      The human energetic body, also referred to as the pranic sheath or astral body, is an intricate network of 72,000 nadis that facilitate the movement of prana, the vital energy of the human body. The nadis, also referred to as astral tubes, astral nerves or meridians, come together in seven energy centers called the chakras which are located along the central canal, the Sushumna, which corresponds to the spine in the physical body. Understanding each energy center and having the ability to heal them can help you consciously control your physical body and hence aide physical and emotional well-being and assist in higher spiritual pursuits.
      Tapping into the healing abilities of your chakras can be achieved through various means, such as changing your lifestyle and diet, establishing a meditation practice, taking time for personal exploration, and integrating physical practices such as yoga into your daily life. Below are some specific healing techniques to balance each chakra and help you establish equilibirum.

      Root Chakra – Muladhara – I am

      Location: The base of the spine in the tailbone area.
      Purpose: Keeps you grounded and centered.
      When imbalanced: Feeling unfocused; maneuvering through life without purpose; sense of drifting along; fear and uncertainty; frustration with life direction; lack of emotional and life independence.
      When nurtured: Increased sense of security, confidence and satisfaction; increased sense of self-worth; strengthened connection with your intuition; ability to move forth to the creative nature of life; ability to fully love and enjoy life.
      Healing techniques: Practice visualization of walking barefoot and growing roots to the Earth’s center; visualize molten lava or other objects that are bright red; perform walking meditation, if possible barefoot; resolve issues with family and close friends; re-establish your understanding of what you really need versus what you want in life.
      What to eat: Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, beets, garlic, onion, etc; protein-rich foods such as nuts, eggs, beans and tofu; spices such as horseradish, cayenne pepper, hot paprika and chives.
      Mantra: Lam

      Sacral Chakra – Swadhishtana – I feel

      Location: Along the spine in the genital area of the lower abdomen, about 2 inches below navel and 2 inches in.
      Purpose: The dwelling place of the Self that affords us the ability to change and accept others.
      When imbalanced: Resistance to change; emotional imbalance; becoming manipulative; sexual dysfunction; laziness and lack of motivation; hormonal imbalance.
      When nurtured: Overall sense of feeling balanced; increased flow of creativity; ability to be easy going; easily getting along with others.
      Healing techniques: Looks for a creative outlet that you enjoy and that allows you to align with who you really are; face any buried emotions from your childhood; become accepting of relationships versus trying to influence them.
      What to eat: Water and mineral water; seafood, fish and other foods from the sea; sweet fruits such as melons, mangos, strawberries, passion fruit and coconut; honey; nuts such as almonds and walnuts; sweet spices such as cinnamon, vanilla, sesame seeds and sweet paprika.
      Mantra: Vam

      Solar Plexus Chakra – Manipura – I do

      Location: In the upper abdomen at the naval, corresponding to the solar plexus in the physical body.
      Purpose: The seat of intellect that is the center of our personal power.
      When imbalanced: Low self-esteem or self-worth; being withdrawn; depression; lack of confidence in daily responsibilities; emotional issues are often coupled with weakness or illness of digestive system.
      When nurtured: Clear sense of optimism; high self-respect; ability to fully express yourself; ability to confidently face challenges; strong sense of personal power; general satisfaction with daily life.
      Healing techniques: Reassess personal choices and life path; meditate on uncovering and accepting the true Self; take the emotional steps to “grow up” and take responsibility for your own life path; take steps to make your dreams and aspirations real.
      What to eat: Starches and grains such as granola, oatmeal, cereals, flax seed and sunflower seeds; dairy such as goat cheese and yogurt; spices such as ginger, mint, chamomile, turmeric, cumin and fennel.
      Mantra: Ram

      Heart Chakra – Anahata – I love

      Location: Center of the chest, slightly above the heart.
      Purpose: Governs love, compassion and spirituality.
      When imbalanced: Feeling of self-pity; overwhelming feelings of sorrow for yourself; indecisiveness; anger; paranoia; fear of getting hurt; fear of close relationships; holding onto feelings or possessions that do not serve you; emotional issues can manifest themselves into cardiac problems.
      When nurtured : ability to express love and compassion; ability to see good in other people; it is easy to forgive others and yourself; ability to show self love.
      Healing techniques: Visualize a bright light at the heart center and imagine it expanding slowly; practice breath meditation focused on inhaling into the heart center and observing sensations at heart center on exhale; write in a journal; open up to and talk with a trusted friend.
      What to eat: Leafy greens such as celery, cabbage, spinach, kale and dandelion greens. Air vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, squash and pumpkin; brown and white rice; green teas; leafy spices such as basil, sage, thyme, cilantro and parsley.
      Mantra: Yam

      Throat Chakra – Vishuddha – I speak

      Location: At the base of the throat.
      Purpose: Governs our ability to communicate and our aptitude for faith and understanding.
      When imbalanced: Difficulty communicating thoughts either verbally or in writing; inability for, frustration with or fear of self expression; apprehension and anxiety; hypothyroid.
      When nurtured: Ability to find an opinion or voice in previously uncomfortable situations; experiences of inspiration; faith and trust in the Universe/Divine/God; ability to observe life from a higher vibration; ability to separate yourself from everyday problems and obstacles; establish understanding of our inner truth.
      Healing techniques: Practice emotional detachment from trivial everyday drama; sing and dance; speak and yell; stand up for your personal beliefs and ideologies; express yourself; practice certain yoga postures such as fish, bridge and headstand.
      What to eat: Fruit liquids such as coco water, juices and herbal teas; tart and tangy fruits such as lemons, limes, kiwi and grapefruit; tree growing fruits such as pears, plums, peaches, and apples; spices such as salt and lemongrass.
      Mantra: Ham

      Third Eye Chakra – Ajna – I see

      Location: The forehead between the eye brows (it is also called the crown chakra).
      Purpose: Helps us stay focused and clear minded and allows us to receive inner guidance from the Higher Self.
      When imbalanced: Lack of insight and intuitiveness; inability to make decisions; feeling lost, discouraged or egotistical; fearful of success; inability to acknowledge necessity to learn or ask for help.
      When nurtured: Ability to connect to our intuitive nature; ability to see in our mind’s eye and envision our future; ability to look beyond the obvious and consider the mystical; facing truth without fear; life obstacles become new possibilities; trust is established that all things happen for a reason and are part of a bigger Divine plan.
      Healing techniques: Visualize the third eye in the middle of the forehead looking around making keen observations; do not over-think or dwell on situations; take time to calm thoughts throughout the day; meditate on being present in the moment; learn new things; remain open-minded to unfamiliar ideas
      What to eat: Raw green veggie juices; foods rich in chlorophyll such as spirulina; eat ligther foods and less food; dark colored fruits such as blueberries, red grapes, black berries and raspberries; spices such as lavender, poppy seed and mugwort.
      Mantra: Om

      Crown Chakra – Sahasrara – I understand

      Location: At the very top of the head.
      Purpose: Represents our ability to connect spiritually and allows the inward flow of wisdom.
      When imbalanced: Feeling disconnected from life or life’s purpose; becoming destructive; lacking trust, faith and hope; experiencing headaches and “brain fog”.
      When nurtured: General sense of satisfaction with life; productive attitude towards all actions and tasks; ability to acknowledge and even feel the connection to the world; unlocking the doorways to the subconscious and unconscious minds; ability to let go of attachments; judgments diminish in thoughts, words and deeds; enlightenment and Divine Wisdom become possible.
      Healing techniques: Visualize bright light glowing at the crown and enveloping the top of the head; ask your Higher Self for guidance and healing; stop judging yourself and others in your words, deeds and thoughts; work on balancing the preceding six chakras; meditate consistently.
      What to eat: fasting and detoxing; smudging with herbs such as sage, copal, myrth and juniper.
      Mantra: Aum
      Here are some great tools to help you on your healing journey.
      Chakra Balancing: Mind, Body, And Soul Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 by Deepak Chopra and Adam Plack (Audio)

      About the Author
      Anna Hunt is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in research and editorial writing. She and her husband run a preparedness e-store outlet at www.offgridoutpost.com, offering GMO-free storable food and emergency kits. Anna is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor. She enjoys raising her children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. Read more of her excellent articles here.
      The Seven Steps, by Marianne Wells, www.mariannewells.com
      Yoga Mind and Body, by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
      This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

      Inner Transformation or Revolution?

      December 3, 2013 | By WakingTimes | Reply
      Flickr - Heart - A. Pagliaricci ♦Beverly Blanchard, Contributor
      Waking Times
      Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. – Rumi
      There has been some discussion lately regarding Russell Brand’s interview with Jeremy Paxman. There was nothing new in what Russell was saying.  The points of view he put forth regarding political corruption, corporate interests, materialism and the potential devastation of Planet Earth have all been cited before.  People’s discontent with the various institutions in this world has been going on for centuries.
      I agree with Russell’s opinion about the importance being aware of what is going on in the world. I just don’t believe that getting emotionally charged up about the issues actually increases awareness levels and empowers people.
      I agree that there needs to be a change.  Where I differ with him is in how the change needs to come about. Russell seems to advocate the need for people to rise up, take a stance and engage in some sort of revolution. The problem with this approach is it creates an attitude of us against them and there are varying interests and intents within the ‘us’ crowd.  Furthermore, when people become emotionally charged in fighting that which they are against, they end up fighting amongst themselves and when the smoke clears, there is no concrete transformation.  There may have been minor changes but everything seems to revert back to the status quo or the pendulum swings to the opposite extreme.
      Take a look at the history books.  A relatively recent example of this is the 1960s Hippie Movement/Revolution. By the 1970s, many of the hippies cut their hair and exchanged the bellbottom jeans for the corporate suits. They became the establishment, and life continued on. Peace, love and equality made way for profits.
      Our power does not come through revolutions or marching in the streets. As the mystics, poets and sages have told us for centuries; it comes from going within and transforming yourself. If you do not like what you are seeing in the outer world, the starting point must be with oneself. The world we chose to see is a mirror reflection of the inner workings of our mind. All change is a movement of the mind. To try to change the outer is fruitless. It is like expecting the image that is reflecting back at you in the mirror to change.
      In order to change the mind, you have to venture within and sometimes this process can be frightening because what you uncover about yourself can be disturbing. Try this simple experiment for five minutes. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. As your breathing becomes deeper, start saying the words, ‘I am’.  As you do this, you may discover how much your mind wanders. On the surface, you may think that you are positive but when you become aware of your inner dialogues you sometimes discover that your thinking is creating arguments and pointing fingers of blame at outside people and circumstances.
      We only perceive what we want to see/hear/feel, and the trouble with that is when we focus our attention on the wrong-doings or that which we don’t like, we empower it. Our world is not created by circumstances; it is created by our perception. If we are not in harmony with ourselves, we cannot point the finger of blame on the outside. It is within that the change must take place.  We must recognize where we are placing our attention because that focus coupled with emotion creates our world.
      About the Author
      Beverly Blanchard is a freelance writer, artist and personal coach. She spent most of her life studying ancient wisdom in search of answers to life. Beverly has studied energy work and how this affects the body. She is the author of Into the Waves. Please visit her blog at www.beverlyblanchard.blogspot. ca where this article was originally featured

      This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

      © 2013 Waking Times. All rights reserved

      'May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.'

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