Open Future NZ Mahatma Gandhi

"Be the change you want to see in the World"

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You can only change yourself

Mahatma Gandhi understood the need for sound principles that he could explain to ordinary people. He also had to personally demonstrate those principles in his life. In modern business language he knew he had to "walk the talk".

Denial is the source of most of our problems. We simply don't see what's plainly in front of us. For instance in self reported surveys, people express very high rates of satisfaction for themselves, in situations what are clearly beyond control. In order to change one must believe that change is not only desirable, but possible. Change requires giving up a former perspective and adopting a new one. That demands energy and Commitment and a willingness to venture into the black hole of an uncertain future.

Change takes time, usually years, not weeks. During that time we need support, friends, mentors, coaches, lovers, and visible means of financial maintenance. Un-learning is as important as learning, all the things that we know that are not valid hold us back. It doesn't matter how long it takes, what's at stake is your whole life. Only you can give your own life meaning, you choose. As Carl Jung said, "When you stop making the effort, your batteries go flat, and life loses it's glory."

Vincent van Gogh understood the importance of discovering "the work" he should be doing. He said, "I'm so lucky to have found my work. It's the only time I'm alive. It takes courage ... I'd rather bear fruit than wither away. This fever to work will see me through, and if not, I'm no loss to anyone."

Paul Hawken has spent over a decade researching organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and fostering social justice.

Blessed Unrest explores the diversity of the movement, its brilliant ideas, innovative strategies, and hidden history, which date back many centuries. A culmination of Hawken's many years of leadership in the environmental and social justice fields, it will inspire and delight any and all who despair of the world's fate, and its conclusions will surprise even those within the movement itself. Fundamentally, it is a description of humanity's collective genius, and the unstoppable movement to reimagine our relationship to the environment and one another.

Paul Hawken tells the story in Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being.

Truth

Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth, or Satya. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. He called his autobiography, "The Story of My Experiments with Truth".

Gandhi said that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities. The principles that guided his life were built slowly during a lifetime of searching for "truth". For Gandhi truth was the mirror in which God was seen.

We have the ability to change ourselves, and only we can do it. There can be no progress except that we make better use of our own energy, personal initiative and ability. The first task is to disillusion ourselves, to discover what's real. Our personal expectations are often the creation of the propaganda in our lives. We need to de-school ourselves to even begin to see how untruth and myths obscure our vision. None of this is easy - it takes time.

Commitment

nonviolence and vegetarianism

Gandhi's major Commitment's were to vegetarianism and non-violence from Jainism. He also said, "There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for." The act of Commitment denies you other choices. That is an essential part of achievement. In applying these principles, Gandhi did not balk from taking them to their most logical extremes in envisioning a world where even government, police and armies were also nonviolent.

Gandhi was a devoted Hindu: "Thus if I could not accept Christianity as the greatest religion, neither was I then convinced of Hinduism being such. Hindu defects were pressingly visible to me. If untouchability could be a part of Hinduism, it could but be a rotten part." Gandhi had the courage not only to seek the truth, but to confront others with that truth. So confronted, people have the option of seeing themselves clearly or refusing to look in that mirror.

Daily Habits

The idea of vegetarianism is deeply ingrained in Hindu and Jain traditions in India. As Gandhi grew into adulthood, he became a strict vegetarian. He wrote the book The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism and several articles on the subject. Gandhi, himself, became inspired by many great minds during this period and befriended the chairman of the London Vegetarian Society, Dr. Josiah Oldfield. In later life he abstained from eating for long periods, sometimes using fasting as a form of political protest.

Dr William Glasser M.D., recommends that we diet, exercise and study to increase the amount of control we have over our lives. We live in a world of random events we do not control and did not create. We are responsible for how we choose to understand that world and for the personal choices we make in it. Keeping a journal is a practical tool for recording what the world is like and how you understand it. It gives your memory the power to recall accurately and opportunity, but not necessarily the ability, to recognize on reflection, your own errors of judgment.

Simplicity

Gandhi earnestly believed that a person involved in social service should lead a simple life. His simplicity began by renouncing the western lifestyle he was leading in South Africa. He called it "reducing himself to zero," which entailed giving up unnecessary expenditure, embracing a simple lifestyle and washing his own clothes.

In his autobiography he tells of his battle against lustful urges and fits of jealousy with his childhood bride, Kasturba. He felt it his personal obligation to remain celibate so that he could learn to love, rather than lust.

Gandhi spent one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace. This influence was drawn from the Hindu principles of mauna (silence) and shanti (peace). On such days he communicated with others by writing on paper. For three and a half years, from the age of 37, Gandhi refused to read newspapers, claiming that the tumultuous state of world affairs caused him more confusion than his own inner unrest.

He dressed to be accepted by the poorest person in India, advocating the use of homespun cloth (khadi). Gandhi and his followers adopted the practice of weaving their own clothes from thread they themselves spun, and encouraged others to do so.

Faith

Gandhi was born a Hindu and practised Hinduism all his life, deriving most of his principles from Hinduism. As a common Hindu, he believed all religions to be equal, and rejected all efforts to convert him to a different faith. He was an avid theologian and read extensively about all major religions.

The Muslim faith teaches that "God is unity". Gandhi believed that at the core of every religion was truth and love (compassion, nonviolence and the Golden Rule). He also questioned the hypocrisy, malpractice's and dogma in all religions and was a tireless social reformer.

Religious belief can change uncertainty into certitude, confusion into clarity, hesitation into determination and cautiousness into courage. But if this belief is not built on "truth" it has no value. That was also Martin Luther's experience. In obedience he faithfully studied the scriptures and discovered a "truth" that his religious superiors didn't want to see. They refused to look in the mirror. So it is with most people.

Open Future Limited offers tools to help you find your own way, tools to find and gather your strength, and help to make the choices one needs to make.  You can only do that in your own time.  Talk to us about it. 

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