“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”- Rumi
Rumi, the great Sufi poet and mystic offers proof of the wisdom that existed hundreds of years ago. We often believe in the modern age that our knowledge far surpasses the knowledge of our ancestors, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the oldest teachings still hold true today and discovering the teachings of Rumi has been a highly educational experience for me. I highly recommend all readers to research the work of Rumi in greater depth in your search for life change. I feel this great man had so much to teach us.
Allow me to explain the the message Rumi is conveying with the included quote. ”Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself”. My reason for including this quote is because it perfectly sums up the subjects I was discussing in my previous post. He is hinting that finding oneself and accepting self responsibility is the key to finding contentment. As discussed before, people too often focus on the external in their lives and not enough on the internal.
We often externalise our issues and think changing the world around us the key to solving our problems. In our naiveté, we may even believe that we are clever for being able to see and point out the issues that exist in the world around us. The harsh truth is, we are not clever for believing that the world is the problem and simply blaming the world around us is a very self defeating mindset.
The reason that this is a self defeating way of thinking is because if we choose not to change ourselves individually and simply place blame on other people, how will the world ever change?
How can I change the world? Change yourself
To change the world we must change ourselves, to change our own lives we must change ourselves. The world we live in is a dark place at times with war, poverty, disease, corruption, division, greed, destruction of nature and selfishness being highly prevalent in the modern age for all to see. I am not wishing to ignore or bypass these issues as many modern gurus would have you do, these issues exist and they should not be ignored.
It is very important to highlight the issues that exist on this planet, otherwise we will never be in a position to change anything or to protect ourselves from some of the destructive behaviour that surrounds us. Recognising our surroundings is also an important way of building our wisdom. The definition of wisdom is to possess the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement. You will probably agree these are all great qualities to have in your arsenal.
With wisdom though, we learn that we have limited power over the world which is ‘out there’ but we have huge power over ‘our own world’. You must recognise the problems in the world but must not blame the world for the issues in your own life, you will simply give up on life if you start to believe everyone else is to blame. We must bring the focus back to self change, self responsibility and become wiser versions of ourselves. If you change yourself today, the world has just changed today.
Don’t ignore the negative, embrace it and then change it!
We must learn to understand that life is simply a matter of our own perception at times. It is crucial to focus on the positives in our lives if we wish to find contentment or too move forward. We must not ignore the negatives or issues in the world, this is simply foolish advice. Anyone who encourages this is encouraging people to live in denial, which then leads to suppression of emotions and is highly dangerous. Suppression of emotions then leads to anger, anxiety and depression. Emotions must always be recognised and never ignored.
Worse than that, ignoring the negative could lead you to ignoring your instincts and making poor choices. The healthy negative thought sometimes serves a very important role in protecting us from making silly decisions. The important thoughts you have to recognise are your irrational negative thoughts, you might have many such as ‘I’m too old’ or ‘I’m not good enough’ etc. These are self destructive negative thoughts that must be first be recognised but then completely disregarded into the trash. The more you destroy these irrational thoughts, the easier you will find it to overcome negativity in your life.
The wise advice is to accept the negatives in your life, not battle them and to ask yourself how you are going to change the negatives. You must understand you are a powerful being who can make an impact on the world and that you deserve to experience contentment and happiness. Your attempt to change the world must start by changing yourself and your attitude, then everything else will fall into place and you will be stunned by how much more smoothly your life begins to move. Rumi was right!