"Be the change that you want to see in the world," Mahatma Gandhi
Isn't that great advice for anyone who sometimes feels overwhelmed by either world events or even just the complexities of daily life? Gandhi did change the world but he recognized where the focus needed to start.
So great advice...but how exactly can you do it? How do you become the change?
In order to try and get a practical handle on techniques that people can use to start making changes in their lives, I spoke with licensed therapist and best-selling author, Derek Rydall. I previously interviewed Derek about his upcoming book, The Law of Emergence, and his concept of 'The end of Self Improvement' because I've personally found his ideas to be both inspirational and effective in my life.
Derek outlined four steps you can start taking right now, in a process he calls 'Emergineering', which is about engineering the full emergence of any area of your life. Whether you want to change the world, your career or your relationships, Derek's short guide is a good place to start taking action, here and now.
1. Catching the Vision
The first step is tapping into that Perfect Idea about your life, work, relationship, or project to see what's trying to emerge. There are many ways to do this. You can journal about people, places, movies, books, and activities that inspire you, then determine the qualities they represent.
For example, if it's Oprah, what about her do you admire? Her courage, her authenticity, her strength?
As you articulate these qualities, you're really describing who you are, because everything we see 'out there' that moves us is really a projection of the parts of our self we haven't owned yet. And as you reclaim these projected parts of yourself, it's not only a powerful way of becoming conscious of the vision trying to emerge in your life -- and giving expression to it -- but also a way of becoming whole again.
You can also start with your deepest desires, and use those as clues of what's trying to emerge. "Desire" means 'of the sire, father, or creative principle.' So a sincere desire is not a sign of something you need to get 'out there', but something within you trying to get out; it's something you're pregnant with that's trying to be born through you.
Another powerful tool is Life Visioning, a meditation process pioneered by Michael Beckwith, a mentor of mine for years (who planted many of the seeds that have grown into my work). This is basically a way of activating your intuition and tapping into that Perfect Idea within you, that seed of potential lying dormant in the soil of your soul.
To start, get in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, then get in touch with a feeling of unconditional love and gratitude. Remember a time when you felt these, or imagine a situation where you would. Allow yourself to feel fully this energy of love and gratitude. Then, from this place, ask these four questions, allowing time in between for contemplation and insight:
(1) What is God's (or Higher Power's) vision of my life? Or just 'What is the highest vision of my life?'
(2) What's trying to emerge in my life (or the area you're working on)?
(3) How must I change, what must I become in consciousness, to be the place where this vision can emerge in my life? (You can also ask, 'what must I let go of or embrace?')
(4) Is there some action I'm being called to take to step out on the vision?
Regardless of what comes up, trust that as you ask these questions, they are always answered. You are creating a space inside, a womb, where the next stage of your emergence is being conceived and cultivated, and will eventually be born as a change in consciousness - and then a change in your external experience.
As you practice this meditation, over time, beyond merely seeing what the vision of your life is, the vision begins to work in and upon you, transforming you from the inside-out.
2. Cultivating The Inner Conditions:
With your vision clearer, start creating the inner environment that matches the change you want to see in the world (or the mate you want to be with in the world, if you're working on relationships).
This step is based on the premise that your ideal life is already in you, just as the oak is already in the acorn -- but you must create the right inner environment for it to emerge through and as you.
What's more, your ideal life isn't merely potential, it's already happening at a certain frequency of consciousness. But to experience it you must tune into the frequency, which is what the inner work is about.
For example, right now there are thousands of songs playing in the room you're in. But unless you tune your radio to a particular frequency, you can't hear them. What's more, once you tune in and enjoy that song, you didn't create it or make it happen, you merely aligned with what was already playing and allowed it to move and groove through you. The same is true for your Ideal Life (or any aspect of it). As Michael Beckwith says, 'you can't make it happen, but you can make it welcome'. You do that by creating this inner vibrational match.
There are many things you can do to activate and embody this inner state. As you begin catching a vision of your life and articulating the qualities you're yearning to express more of, create a list of all the activities you used to do, or sometimes still do, that make you feel these.
For example, maybe walking in nature makes you feel peaceful, a certain song makes you feel in love, and certain smells activate joy. Engineer those things back into your daily and weekly agenda, so that they become a regular part of your life.
You can also visualize yourself living your ideal life and feeling what it feels like. Then let go of the picture and stay with the feelings -- allowing them to magnify until you're swimming in them. Remain there for a while, and radiate those qualities into every area of your life.
As you do this regularly, you'll begin to feel this way as you're going about your day -- you'll just be happy for no good reason! This is how you know you're beginning to tune your dial to the song of your soul. Then watch out, because your life is about to change!
3. Giving What Appears Missing:
As you realize you already have everything you need within you, and begin cultivating your consciousness so you're feeling it -- you can apply the powerful principle that 'whatever's missing is what you're not giving'. This is a total reversal of how you've been taught to operate.
Your charge here is to begin giving whatever you've been trying to get in your life:
- If you've been trying to get respect and appreciation at work, now you start giving those qualities, to yourself first, then expressing them to everyone else.
- If in your close relationships, you've been waiting for them to start loving or cherishing you more, now you start loving and cherishing yourself more - then turning that energy on them.
- If it's more wealth and abundance you want, start giving more, serving more, secretly tithe to charity, find something to give to someone who needs it -- get the circulation going!
In other words, you start giving to yourself and others everything you've been struggling to get from them. Why? Because you already have all of this within you, and as you give it, you activate this potential and pour it into your environment, into what quantum physics calls 'the field'.
This is what it means to 'cast your bread upon the water,' which is the only bread you can ever receive in return. As the metaphysical axiom states, 'You can only keep what you give away.'
Stop looking for anything from others and begin looking for opportunities to give -- particularly to those you find most difficult. This is how you begin to forgive. When you stop trying to get something from others, in that open space they tend to give you not only what you were struggling for -- but often much more.
When you live this way, you decrease your sense of separation from the good that is everywhere, activate your heart, and create an environment of such confidence and fulfillment that it can't help but improve your relationships and magnetize everything you need into your experience.
4. Acting As If You're Already It:
Ask yourself "If I was feeling all these inner qualities of my ideal life -- radiating it and being it -- what kinds of actions would I take in my life? What would I be doing more of? Expressing more of?"
Have you noticed that when someone's deeply in love they feel like they can take on the world? They take bolder actions and really live life more fully. At this stage your call is to begin BEING that person now instead of waiting for conditions to change - in your relationships, at your work, and out in the world.
As you catch the vision, feel its reality within you, and begin radiating it into your environment, ask yourself, "If I was totally supported by life, if I was this brilliant, beautiful, powerful being that I know myself to be, what would I do with my life, what would I do with this day, what would I do right now?"
Then take action!
And you'll find that doors begin to open, within your heart and mind first -- then out in the world.
What's more, you'll discover that you're not a victim of circumstances, that you don't have to keep running faster to catch up with the world -- you begin to lead, and the world catches up to you!
You realize you're already whole, and all co-dependence is dissolved. You no longer need anybody, which is when everyone you need tends to show up. And you no longer need anything, which is when you end up receiving more than you need.
At this stage, it's a good idea to create what I call a Quantum Plan, which is where you engineer a way of life -- and put it on your calendar -- so that daily (and ultimately effortlessly) you are activating and cultivating the conditions for your continued emergence.
As you do this, you move out of struggling and striving to achieve something, and into a life lived more by grace; your needs begin to show up before you even know you need them; you find yourself more often in the right place at the right time, with the right people, without planning for it.
Life shifts from being a problem you must solve... into an adventure that is your privilege to live.
Derek Rydall is a licensed integrative therapist who has trained top executives in Fortune 500 companies (such as American Express, Disney, Carrier, Hartford Insurance, and CBS), coached thousands of artists and entertainment professionals and written three books ("The Law of Emergence," "There's No Business Like Soul Business," "I Could've Written a Better Movie than that!").