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To Thine Own Self Be True

Key Lesson: Anyone or anything that asks you to be untrue to yourself has already acted against you.

Change the World Around You by Awakening to the World Within You

Question: I find little comment in your work regarding political action or defense from immediate physical threats. The message seems to be that resistance or effort to promote a change in a perceived problem is counter-productive and only prolongs the issue. Where does one draw the line (if at all) when perceived attacks are repeated or increased? Are any political involvements valid?

Answer: All of us are moved to do whatever it is that we do in this life because of what we believe in, which is very much the same as what we are attracted to in one way or another. One of the tenets of my work is that we are drawn to whatever it may be, because within that relationship -- whatever its nature -- exists something for us to discover about ourselves through that relationship. Another major tenet is that "the inner determines the outer," which is to say that the world we meet -- individually and collectively -- is pretty much a reflection of the level of our present nature.

If we can marry these two important principles, then what we will see is that trying to change the world around us without first awakening to the world within us that has created what we want to change is an act of futility. That said, and as you have well pointed out, we can't ignore the world we're making, and that certain actions are mandatory to keep it from completely going down the drain.

So, one must be a good civilian. To quote a bit of Eastern wisdom, one must put their faith in Allah but tie up their camel. People who arbitrarily destroy or deliberately corrupt must be dealt with; it is wise to live as "green" as possible. To not vote for what one believes in is to vote for what others believe in that runs counter to one's own common sense, etc.

To summarize, the most difficult thing in the world is also the most important thing in the world... and that is: "to thine own self be true." What others do or don't do often requires our attention, but without first attending to our own interior unrest and conflict, we are a physician hiding from his own sickness by feigning interest in the health of others.

For a deeper understanding of this topic we recommend The Intimate Enemy.

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