If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. –Lao Tzu
At a time of economic downturn, with corruption on the rise and countries at war, we wondered what could bring greater awareness, kindness, and compassion to a world in so much chaos? Could something as subtle and understated as meditation possibly have any affect on business, the environment, conflict, or even politics? Can meditation make a big enough change in consciousness to transform the way we see ourselves, each other, and our world?
We have both been immersed in meditation since we were young. It is the foundation of our lives, and often makes us wonder what life would be like without it when we look around and see the massive confusion and suffering that many people experience. So, for our book, Be the Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and The World, we wanted to paint a more varied picture by including many of the cool people who do it, how it affects them, and why you should do it too!
Meditation has been the main focus of spiritual practice for thousands of years, but it is only in the last few decades that the general population has begun to realize how valuable it really is, regardless of spiritual or religious interests. However, this poses a conundrum. If meditation is so available and as well known as it seems to be, why is it not already an integral part of everyone’s lives? If health reports are saying how good it is as a way to cope with stress, how it makes you feel better about yourself and others, why do we ignore it or find excuses not to do it?
Self-centeredness and selfishness — hallmarks of the ego — affect not only our own lives and relationships but also influence the way we behave in the world. There is no limit to the damage a strong ego can do, from the arrogant conviction that our own opinions are the only right ones and everyone should be made to believe in them, to wielding and abusing power at the expense of other people’s lives or liberties. The ego is neither good nor bad, except when self-centeredness dominates our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of life. A positive sense of self gives us confidence and purpose, but a more negative and selfish aspect of the ego makes us unconcerned with other people’s feelings; it thrives on the idea of me-first and impels us to cry out, “What about me? What about my feelings?”