I have recently read a lot about the path to enlightenment and peace. And I find it very applicable to many people’s shared desire to create a more loving and peaceful world. The readings focus on the transformations of individuals as the way to improve and benefit the whole of society. These changes are within regards to what we consider reality (for example, Eckhart Tolle believes that the only reality is The Now. The Now is all we ever really have because the past is something we can never go back to, and the future hasn’t happened yet, and therefore isn’t real). By living in the now, we are able to be truly present to ourselves, to those around us, and we are not regretful of the past, nor are we creating expectations for the future.
Another thing humans tend to believe is that externalities define at least part of who we are (i.e. how others define us, treat us, what positions we hold, the awards we receive). When we believe this, and then external conditions/situations change, we have the tendency to feel like we are losing a part of our selves. But, you can’t lose something that you are; all you can lose are the temporary external conditions or people (which are things that you have). It is only once the individual in society is able to understand this, and to become detached from externalities, that the society as a whole will be able to heal.
From my experience, most of the time with service and justice work, we tend to look outside ourselves in order to try and solve social problems. But I think that we should first look inside ourselves to examine our understanding of the world, how we interact and treat others, and how we let ourselves be defined by externalities, before we can truly be affective agents of change.
(I would highly recommend reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose” and “The Power of Now”).
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
CCSJ Student Coordinator
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