External circumstances don’t completely make up who we are. Rather, it is our idea of who we are that make up external circumstances. I feel this is a huge misunderstanding that causes many people a lot of pain (including me).
We constantly chase the external circumstances that we feel will make us feel whole and complete, but those circumstances can only truly show up when our idea of ourselves is one of completeness. Otherwise even if we attain the circumstance we want, through hard work usually, it inevitably will fade away to reveal the true idea we hold within us.
The external world and all that it contains is actually an expression of our inner ideas. It is simply the physical translation of who we hold ourselves to be. We can learn a lot about ourselves individually and collectively as a society, by viewing the expressions we create. The external world is a feedback mechanism allowing us to constantly refine our ideas and reinvent ourselves.
We don’t need to look far into our history to see how our ideas have changed the world. It is mainly the idea that each person or a group of people holds about themselves that creates the response from the rest of the world. For example, when black people gave up the idea of their inferiority and realized their equality we got the civil rights movement. When women also did this they created new opportunities for themselves. Our world would not be the same were it not for these ideas and a number of others that I don’t really have the space to get into right now.
Changing ideas do not only occur on a large scale of course; they occur everyday in individual peoples’ lives. As a person changes the idea of themselves they change their life and their experience of the world. The bigger the change in the idea, the bigger the change externally.
One could say we are nothing but an idea. We are who we think we are. Without an idea of ourselves or our world, would we have any experience at all? I don’t mean to say that we are an idea in order to diminish, but to expand. When we see ourselves as an idea, we can be anything we wish to be. It allows for an ever changing life full of possibilities. The importance and the power of the ideas we hold cannot be underestimated.
Look about the world today and see the changes taking place. The Arab Spring and other uprisings are the result of new ideas beginning to take hold within people’s minds. Our technological innovations, sociological programs, cultural traditions and any other aspect of our society constantly change with our ideas of who we are and of the world we live in.
I always think about how people in the past would react if we were to take our technology like WIFI and the Internet back in time and show it to them. They would probably consider it to be some sort of magic, but this is only because of the idea they hold about themselves and the world and what is possible in life.
I can see this kind of effect when thinking of the future as well. As our past selves would freak out about our technology now, we would certainly freak out just the same if we were to see our world in the future. Many of the ideas that are on the fringes of society today will be mainstream tomorrow. I believe these ideas include the existence of aliens, parallel realities, the spiritual awakening of ourselves as creators of the universe and many others. It is hard to imagine where we will end up by following these ideas, but I know that it will definitely be an exciting journey, for some of us at least.