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Be the Change You Want to See
by David Truman
If you're like me, you want something more than the average life, something deeper. We are all tired of the meaninglessness of this world: the superficial interactions, the conversations that don't go anywhere, the love exchanges that could have been better. Mediocrity is everywhere, and it's breaking our hearts. But what you may not realize is: the answer to the problem is within you.
In the end, it's up to those who feel the mediocrity and lack of heart in this world to change it. The more you feel what's missing, the more responsible you are for doing something about it. So, if your interactions with people and your relationships are not going deep enough, you have to take them there.
It's on those who FEEL it to heal it.
You have to bring out in others what you want to see. It's just like working a crowd as a performer. When Little Richard gave a concert, everybody would always go bonkers. He invoked in them a great passion to dance, go wild, express themselves. So, wherever he went, Little Richard got to see wild, crazy, uninhibited people -- both in concerts and in regular life. That's because he was willing to be wild, crazy, and uninhibited, so he brought that out in others. You see, if you're willing to be a spark, you can start a fire! To take them somewhere, you just have to go there yourself.
The world as a mirror
People think that they see the world objectively. But the truth is, the world they see is the world they are creating. We are always creating some kind of emotional atmosphere -- good, or not so good. For example, if I were to walk into a room in a fierce rage, and start yelling at everyone and swinging a stick around, what would I see? I would see a lot of frightened people; and I would get the impression that it's a frightened world out there. I could even take a picture of it, and prove to you that the world is full of frightened people. But in all of that, I never bothered to ask: WHY? Why am I seeing so many frightened people?
Similarly, if you spend time with somebody who's in a black mood, that will likely make you feel bad, too. So, what will that person see? A whole lot of people in a bad mood -- just like them! That's what a black mood does. Even dullness creates an influence: one yawns, everyone yawns!
If you want to bring out the best in others, you have to create the right context for it. You be yourself, and then people can be themselves with you. You be sincere, and you create an environment where people can be sincere back.
So, when someone says something like: "The world is so boring, nothing real ever happens," or, "There is no love in this world, no caring people," I might ask: "And yourself? What have you been doing?" Most likely, the world is being for you what you are being for it.
And that means . . .
If everybody around you is tired, maybe you need to wake up.
If everybody is mean, maybe you need to be kinder.
If everybody is superficial, maybe you need to be more sincere.
Be the real you, and they will too
So, you see that the world reflects back at you what you're being. Now the question remains: What do you want to see in that mirror? What do you want to have shining on you all the time?
And of course, the sane answer is: people's beauty, their heart, their authenticity. So . . .
Be what you'd like to see.
And in order to do that, you must dig into your own heart. You must find the deeper springs of desire. You must find yourself.
You have to be what you want to see,
Many people look at the life they've created and get depressed, because they see there's nothing real happening wherever they are. Why is that? Because they're not there. They're not willing to be there -- to be vulnerable, sincere, real.
I'll tell you the truth: if there is one person in a couple or group who is being themselves, nobody will be bored. Would you be bored if somebody gave you their heart on a plate? Would you be bored if you could talk to someone truly authentic, who expressed real feeling? Of course not! That's because who we are is huge, passionate, sensitive; full of life, and humor, and intensity. You know that. Our souls are bursting with suppressed life; but most people are so practiced at keeping that down, all that's left of it is a nagging sense of dissatisfaction, a sense that life ought to be bigger and better.
There is wisdom in the cries of your soul! Listen to them. What you want, what you feel, what you yearn for -- that needs to be lived. "As long as the roots are not severed, all is well, and all will be well, in the garden," says Chauncey Gardiner in Being There. The root is your connection to your heart, your real self, your real desires. Do not sever yourself from your heart's true impulses. You have feelings about things. You have insights. You have desires. You have inspirations. You even have moral outrage sometimes. Do that! Live that! Be that!
If your heart is pining for more, then go for it. Cry out with a rebel yell: More! More! More! And then create more. Work the crowd, until they finally stand up and dance!
With a rebel yell, she cried, "More! More! More!"
-- Billy Idol
Of course, some people will resist at first. They will throw up their little walls, and say, I won't! That's why you always have to be the example, the fall guy or girl. You have to be real first. You can count on the fact that they won't do anything unless you do it first. They won't ever get up and dance until and unless you've already been standing up and dancing, all by yourself, for a while. That's part of the courtship ritual. You've got to take the risk. You've got to let it all hang out.
I dig love, I love dig
Every person loves water, but who is willing to dig for it? Who wants to dig a well that goes down deep into the great aquifers below, and taps into infinite water?
In the same way, every person loves love, every person loves authenticity, real feeling, real passion, real heart. But who wants to dig for it? Who will do the work required to tap into the invisible reservoirs of infinite Divine-human love lying deep in every heart?
Most people hold back their heart, because they think that's the "safest" way to live. Putting your heart out there, taking emotional risks, admitting how you feel to someone -- all of that sounds terribly scary to the average human being. But the truth is, the most painful life is the life in which you are not expressed. Because, while it's possible that some people will disappoint you when you be yourself, it is guaranteed that almost everybody will disappoint you, and fail to give their heart to you, if you don't. When you guard your heart, you live in a world where, due to not living authentically, you don't get to see any life around you. And you naturally draw this conclusion: "Life has no life." Well, yes, ever since you've been gone, that's true.
As soon as you find those deeper springs in yourself, as soon as you are willing to offer the living water of your own true emotion, love, care, passion, tenderness, etc., others will drink of those springs, and that will bring out deeper things in them. You can be sure of that. Reality is living water. People love it.
Sitting up high in the willow branches
If I jump in the sky will it catch me?
Overcoming your own mediocrity
This all sounds great and makes sense, but you may feel insecure about your ability to invoke sincerity in others, or even to be sincere yourself. Perhaps you think you are too mediocre, or just not enough, to bring out what your heart desires in others.
For that, I have a surprising answer: Hogwash! I don't care about your mediocrity. I don't buy it, and neither should you.
The way to fix your mediocrity is to understand yourself as a performer, and to realize that if you're a performer, it doesn't matter how you feel, or what side of the bed you got out of. It doesn't matter at all. You have a responsibility to your "audience."
You would certainly learn this if you were in the Bolshoi Ballet. Do you feel like dancing every day? Surely not. But whatever your mood may be, whatever troubles may exist, when it's time to perform, you have to be over it as soon as you step on stage -- otherwise there's no show. That's the only way you can be in the troupe.
There's nothing that anyone can contribute to society if they're living downstream from their circumstances. If you want to take creative responsibility for your life, and for what you bring out in others, you cannot be downstream from how you feel, from where you're at, or from where your audience (or friend, or lover, or spouse, or workmate) is at. You have to be upstream from that stuff. You have to take the present conditions -- where you are at, and where they are at -- as not very significant. And then, go about creating what you wish to create.
Imagine a concert performer who, when he sees that he has a tough crowd, just throws down his guitar and gives up. "I'm not doing this. Nobody's into it. I'm out," he cries. And with that, he walks off the stage. That's it for his career as a performer. His agent would drop him immediately, because he can't do the job reliably.
In that same way, many people have given up on life, on trying to create beauty with others. But the only people who can ever have a satisfying life, and satisfying loves, are those who will face adversity, and keep on going. Keep on giving. Keep on loving. Keep on living.
Where human and Divine intention meet
And here's a secret that few know: If you make the commitment to create beauty and goodness, the Divine will meet you nine-tenths of the way.
When you first decide to create something real with someone, you may feel like you have nothing to give, and nowhere to come from. You're making it up, more or less -- it's a funny feeling.
But then, as you get to work, it becomes real. You put out your intention to create something beautiful, and the Divine breathes life into it, and it comes alive. Soon, you are full of juice; you have plenty to give.
Surely you've had the experience of being tired and worn out yourself, but you see that your friend is feeling down, and you want to cheer him up. So, you go over to try and give him a boost; and by the time you're finished, you're both happy and full of energy. You're basically raising up yourself and your friend all at once. That's how it works. You get what you give -- literally!
It's a collaborative process, a combination of personal will and Divine grace. If you are willing to do your job, God is willing to help out with the energy, the inspiration, the movement.
Getting the girl warmed up
Of course, how fast you see results depends on exactly what you're trying to do. If you want to put on a dance or a comedy skit, everyone will be hysterical in a few seconds if it's a good routine. But maybe there's a deeper level you're trying to create in your relationships. Maybe you're trying to get people to take you seriously, to go deeper, to have real conversations with you, etc. That's a deeper level, and succeeding at that usually takes more than a few seconds.
True intimacy, meaningful conversation, being real with one another, is alien to most people. They are not used to it. So, you have to help them out.
For example: a man meets a woman he likes, and they start dating, but she just won't open her heart to him. She has hardened inside, because she's been out of the relationship game for years. Now, it's difficult for her to open up and enjoy real intimacy.
The potential for real beauty is there, but if he actually wants her heart, he's going to have to work it. So, he does a few beautiful things with her, and he expresses his love sincerely to her when he feels moved to do so -- and that fans a little ember of desire within her, a remembrance of what she once loved, and still loves, in fact. Then, he keeps puffing on that ember, to see if he can make a fire out of it. Eventually, she will warm up enough to where she can open her heart, and give herself to him in return.
It takes commitment to bring out the best in others. Out of habit, and social training, most people will start out mundane, or guarded. So, you have to work it.
And at those moments when it seems like nothing's happening, you've got to dig deeper, and find your extra reserves. Say to yourself: "This seems like a bum crowd, but they've got it in them somewhere." Dig, and keep digging, and you will soon penetrate through the parched desert, and strike water. There's water down there, you can be sure of that, even though on the surface, it's bone dry.
When you dig in deep enough to find the real you, then you can find the real them -- then and only then. So, be an instigator. Take risks. Be vulnerable. Be bold. Say and do things that are off the wall, personal, unexpected, real. Give your heart to the ones you love. Create a new environment, in which people can be themselves, and watch them come alive. If you give your heart, it will happen.
And I'll give you a tip about that:
Finding yourself depends on your loving. When you love, you be yourself. Loving is what brings out the best in you. And also, love is what brings out the best in others. If you love them -- enough to be yourself with them -- you create the space in which they can be themselves. Therefore, you must love to find yourself, and you must love to find others.
Deep down, they are into life
Of course, when you put on this live heart show, most people will not respond at first. They'll just sit and watch and eat their popcorn. Most people like to think life is a spectator sport. But you just keep working them, and eventually, they'll crack.
And believe me, they will crack; because, despite appearances, they are into life. Every person actually has a magnificent heart, passion, desire, sensitivity -- which often lies dormant, waiting to be invoked. Try to get to them just once, and the chances are, they will want to go there again. Because they love going there -- everybody does. That is inherent in the human heart. You can absolutely rely on their heart; because in their heart, every human being is on your team. Maybe they're on your team secretly, or maybe they're on your team openly -- but either way, they're on it in their heart.
Spin the plate
Once you've got them going, you need to spin the plate, to make sure they don't forget that they like it.
For example: You finally get your shy friend to dance wildly at a party, even though he always told you he didn't like dancing. If you invite him out the very next night, he might do it again, because he's in the mood; but if you wait a few months, you'll have to warm him up from stone cold.
If you manage to get someone to go deeper with you than ever before, or if you have a beautiful experience, you had better spin that plate again soon. Don't give them a week to think about it; because if you do, you'll be starting from scratch.
This is how many relationships die -- friendships, marriages, and matehoods. We fail to keep them alive. We might occasionally put something out there, do something beautiful, say something true -- but not often enough. We plant real seeds by the beautiful things we do and say; but then we fail to water the seeds, and the shoots die.
So, there are two steps to creating the world we want to see: The first step is to commit to what it takes to get people warmed up one time. The second step is to spin the plate enough so you don't have to heat them up from cold again.
Doing it together
But you won't always have to be the instigator, the plate spinner. You just need to create the groove with a person. Once you've done that, they'll likely find in themselves the ability to create beauty, deep conversations, loving interactions, real intimacy -- because all of that is so native to them.
At that point, it's obvious that you're birds of a feather, and you always were birds of a feather. But now that it's out in the open, and you're both out of the closet, you can celebrate your sameness of heart. You can do it together.
You've got to work the crowd until you've got the real crowd. When you get the real crowd, you can go where you want to go with them -- where your heart wants to go, that is.
Occasionally it doesn't work out that way. You won't have success with every person. Some people will drop out, even if you work it with all you've got, simply because it's not their will to go there. It takes some willingness on their part. But you can be assured, if you live this way, you will have beautiful relationships with some people, and beautiful interactions with most people. That is my experience, and that is the truth.
"If I were me, what would I be -- and what would I see?"
If that's of interest to you, then try it and see. You can be quite sure, there is a radically different world that would exist in your face if you were you.
The world without them is what
People, and the whole world, are generally passive. If you don't create life, almost no one will. It's like a stair stepper exercise machine -- it won't start moving unless you get on it.
You could stand there, just a few feet from the stair stepper, and watch it. You could walk around it, and carefully observe it from all sides. And you could look away, then peek back at it, and see whether it had moved. But you would find, generally, that not much would change.
You could set your alarm for 3 AM, and creep down the stairs very carefully to see whether it's going for it, after you go to bed. Or set up a surveillance camera that runs all night, and then review the tapes, to see if it moved. I guarantee you: it won't budge. But look at this: If you got on the stair stepper and started working, it would suddenly come to life!
And that, friends, is the difference between you being in life, or just simply trying to observe it.
Until there's a commitment to bring life to life,
I used to do couple's counseling. And most of the time, the two spouses would be waiting for each other to change. Waiting and watching, hoping that eventually their mate will do something that will make everything better. They don't seem to realize that if both of them wait, nothing is going to happen. Just as a stair stepper won't start moving until you get on it.
The usual question is:
"Why should I live, when there's nothing around me that lives?"
The usual result:
The person never lives, because they
For better results, better ask the question the other way around:
"How can there be any life around me if I am dead?"
That's the way life works. You live, it lives. You die, it dies.
Groove is in the heart
You have within you everything you need to bring out the love, the passion, the beauty, the reality that you seek, and want, and need. The heart is full of passion. Groove is in the heart. If you want beauty -- real beauty -- there's no elsewhere to which you need to apply, no elsewhere you need to seek. If you want real beauty, there's no other person you need to see, and no other person you need to be. All you need is you.
God gave you God's heart. Your heart is Divine. That is true of everybody. Therefore, whoever is willing to dig for love, and goodness, and life -- that person will have it. Living water will flow from your heart, which is the Heart of God.
Let's break it down:
by David Truman
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