I started a conversation on Facebook recently. I asked my friends, "If you could do ONE thing to improve the world, what would you do and how would you do it? The results were astounding. Many ideas were put forth on what needed fixing, on what problems needed to be solved. But no one answered the question. Not one person told me what ONE thing THEY would do and HOW they would do it. They only said what should change as if stating it would make it happen.
This opened my eyes to the reality that we all have been conditioned to look at what's not good, what's not right, what doesn't feel good, who did us wrong, etc. That, we can identify. But we have not been nurtured to think as problem solvers. So not one of my Facebook friends offered any ideas on how they would do the ONE thing that they thought would make the world a better place. Even after I asked repeatedly for the how.
So in the face of being able to easily identify issues that interfere with an optimal experience here on Earth without any concrete ideas on how to implement the solutions, we are certainly insuring the continuation of the same dynamics and the eventual cultivation of more worldwide dysfunction. How is this possible? We are living in an era of sheer technological miracles. Mankind has accomplished so much. What we take for granted was not even a thought a hundred years ago. Yet, in spite of this, it seems that a majority of people are frustrated, unhappy, unfulfilled, and suffering with anxiety or depression. What does this say about progress?
In the 1960s, the hippies came upon the scene and were espousing peace and love as the answer to the worldwide dilemmas of war, poverty and oppression. "Tune in, turn on, drop out" was the mantra of the day. To be honest, as a baby boomer coming of age in the sixties, I thought our generation had the "answer". Love and peace seemed like the obvious cure. Think about it...if everyone on Earth filled their thoughts and their experiences with love and peace, how could we possibly go wrong?
But it was a movement that fell apart. It failed to have any sustainable positive effect on society. How is it possible that peace and love could fail as an answer to suffering? My personal opinion is that because this movement was fueled by sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, it was doomed to fail. Yes, it helped all of us boomers to "connect" on a shared vision, but its implementation was vacuous because the connection was not from the heart. The connection was in a common disillusionment with the world our parents made. We related to each other in a drug induced "social coma" and thought we could change the world while we acted out sexually and told ourselves we had the answer while all of our consciousness was created by mind altering drugs. Sorry. Not sustainable.
We had a real sincere desire to change the world. But world peace doesn't happen when you smoke pot, drop acid and protest war. Hunger isn't solved by concerts at the Fillmore East. Poverty, as a social ill, isn't cured by denouncing capitalism. We failed. And we failed miserably. In truth, the very generation that was borne out of the largest world war has become part of the problem, not the solution.
So if a social movement cannot sustain positive change and politics obviously cannot sustain positive change, where does that leave humanity? How can we possibly look forward to a better world free of war, hatred, slavery, hunger, poverty, crime, pollution... man's own self-imposed suffering? What's left if what's empirically obvious doesn't seem able to happen?
Enter a look at childhood. We all start as children. Small, vulnerable, powerless and very needy. Being raised by parents who were once small, vulnerable, powerless and very needy. As children, our experience programmed our sub-conscious mind. Since we did not have the brain maturity, language skills or emotional/spiritual knowledge to process things intuitively that created fear, hurt, insecurity, etc., our sub-conscious mind enabled us to compensate in ways that we are not aware of but which nonetheless set the stage for all of our future relationships and experiences. At best, we are all dysfunctional. At best, we all carry childhood scars, hang ups, and unanswered needs that disable us as adults. No parent purposely hurts their children. But all parents were once children whose sub-conscious mind enabled them to survive the pain of growing up. And whether you wish to believe it or not, the sub-conscious mind runs the show.
However, since the sub-conscious mind is programmed by conscious experience, it ultimately is the conscious mind that is required to re-program the sub-conscious mind. In other words, conscious intention is capable of inducing a change in the way the brain processes things. Becoming a mature, functional adult depends on reprogramming the mind of the child within. If we do nothing to overcome the sub-consciously programmed fears and insecurities of childhood, we will struggle with the same fears and insecurities as adults. This is surely a recipe for disaster.
So what does this have to do with making the world a better world? Simply put, if there is ONE thing we all can do to make the world a better place, it is to consciously and intentionally work to reprogram our sub-conscious mind. Overcoming these childhood hang ups improves our self-esteem, makes us feel more worthy and enables us to courageously and compassionately deal with all of our experiences and relationships. Taking fear out of the mix is the only way to make the world a better place. Without fear, our personal coherence leads to community coherence, i.e. people working together toward a common goal. It is only through the collective consciousness that real gains will be made and sustained. The beauty of shared community coherence is that it can lead to global coherence, i.e. nations working together toward a common goal. Doesn't the sound of that make you feel better already?
Admittedly, personal development and intentional growth is much easier said than done. It requires real grit and determination. It forces us to move through enormous pain and calls upon us not to give up when the going gets tough. The real question isn't what ONE thing can you do to change the world for the better? I think we know the answer. The real question is, "how badly do you want to be part of the solution of making the world a better place?" After all, if you were faced with a life and death situation, you would surely be able to find the grit and determination to try to survive, wouldn't you? The sad and shocking reality is that the world is truly in a life and death situation. Which do you choose?
So how does one reprogram the sub-conscious mind? In the world of Google, the answers are only a click away. If you want to be part of the healing, you're on your own. I have to go now. It's time to get started. I hope you'll join me.