If you want change, create the causes. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
This is another of those ‘Doh!’ kind of quotes. It is so simple and so obvious, you wonder why you didn’t think of it first. But that makes it all the better.
Change, at least the kind you actually want, rarely happens on its own. Yes, some kind of change comes unbidden, but the stuff you want, that’s going to take effort.
And that is what the quote is about. If all you do is sit at home and wish that hunger would end, you might be helping a little bit, but there are more effective ways, right?
Right now there are plenty of causes to join, and many causes have multiple groups formed to attempt to make that particular change. Some are local, some are not. Some are more effective, some are not. Choose wisely.
Why is understanding important?
Understanding isn’t always easy. There are plenty of groups saying they support great ideas, ideals, or causes. But where do they really put their effort, and your donations, to use? Do they spend it lobbying a government or agency, or do they directly help people?
What exactly is their plan, their objective, and their methods? Is this something with which you agree? Is there any part you do not understand? Do you know how to contact someone who can clarify things for you? How well can you support an organization when you don’t understand what it is doing?
If you don’t understand why they are doing something, or supporting another group, perhaps you can find a group that does a better job of getting the job done, right? Are you more interested in long term planning (lobby the government) or filling an immediate need (take food to the local pantry)?
So understanding should also be applied to you. Why do you support this cause? What change, specifically, are you attempting to enact? When will you know you have achieved victory, and can move on to another cause? If you don’t know what you want, how will you find a group which matches your needs and desires?
Where can I apply this in my life?
The point of the exercise is to find a group who supports a cause in a manner consistent with your beliefs and values. In most cases there are plenty of other groups to choose from, should one not match as well as you might like. As a last resort, you could always start your own group.
There are times you might choose a local group over a national group, because you want your effort and donations to stay in the immediate area. After all, it is your time, your effort, and your money which you are donating or using to assist the group, right?
What are you really interested in doing? What in this world needs to change, in your opinion? Yes, there are the big, broad topics like injustice and a noticeable lack of peace, but can you get a bit more specific? Without details, how will you be able to tell if they are doing it the way you think it should be done?
Take a moment and consider what you are looking to change in this world. Grab some paper and write down the broad categories, and then try to refine it and make it more specific. Local, or global? Modify or abolish? What is the ultimate goal, and what is the first step or two?
Using war and peace as an example, abolishing all war is a great aim, but a bit big, broad and general in nature. In the largest sense, it might include diminishing and eventually banning nuclear weapons. But at the small end, we need definitions, such as what is the smallest group which can declare war, and be covered by the abolition thereof?
If the legendary Hatfields declared a renewal of hostilities against the McCoys, would it be covered as war, or is that a local case of assault and murder? Every answer gets us closer to determining what we want to do. Perhaps we will work on abolishing war by starting with local tensions at a smaller scale. Or maybe we want to start with Global Thermonuclear War.
Now consider what the first few steps would be in the cause in which you are most interested. Write your thoughts about the first few steps on the paper and look at what you have written. Does it reflect who you are, and the things you believe? If you found a group like that, would you be OK helping them?
If you need to, update your list, and change anything that doesn’t quite fit with who you are, and the things you believe. If you can’t stand behind a group, you need to find a new group, right? Same goes for you. You must be congruent in order to be comfortable putting your support behind the organization, right?
Now all you have to do is find a group that best matches what you want to do, right? With access to the internet, that shouldn’t be too difficult to find. But it will take a little effort on your part to make sure they are getting the money or goods to the people you wish to see helped, and not going elsewhere.
The final step, of course, is actually doing something. Many great changes have been talked about over the centuries, but until you get to the point where action is taken, not much is going to change, right?
What will you do? When will you do it? What can you do right now? If you did the paperwork, and are reading this online, would opening a search engine in your favorite browser be something you could do?
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