When I came across this quote by the Dalai Lama, I agreed with him wholeheartedly. He declared, "although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way." I love it—so true. Although let me throw in a caveat here, which is that the latest brain research suggests that internal transformation isn't as difficult as we believe it to be.
The process of shifting our beliefs is more possible than we realize. Kind of like being mindful of what we eat and making the role of physical fitness in our lives a non-negotiable, it's simple. It’s just that "simple" does not always translate into "easy." Because our habituated patterns tend to run deep. So to un-habituate ourselves can take some doing.
In the end, it's a matter of committing to unraveling any unhealthy ways of being that may have become entrenched within us. If we make this commitment and follow through on doing what it takes, we can shed our biases and our prejudices and just our plain old limited beliefs quite readily.
There are two aspects to "being the change." First its positive effects on your inner life and second its positive effects on the world around you. In terms of the first level, it's about being in integrity and alignment about the condition of your own inner landscape. It's about cleaning up and organizing your own house before you criticize the world. It's about realizing that when we point our finger at others, three fingers always point back at we ourselves.
We are wise to look within ourselves--in a spirit of deep self-acceptance and genuine curiosity--and to shine a bright light of illumination upon our own hidden biases. Probing into the judgments and prejudices that may well lurk deep within us. Ignorant ideas we ourselves may be holding toward some categories of our fellow human beings. The ugly truth is that this does hold true—to some degree—for all of us.
Many of us who see ourselves as "good people" will be hesitant to look at ourselves that closely or that honestly. We will be quick to wriggle out of the assignment at hand. We will be quick to believe our own tall tale that we ourselves have no biases. In our minds, other people—bad people—have biases. We don't. However, it's better to look more courageously and carefully.
Better to acknowledge that yes, we ourselves do actually have some shadows and some darkness lurking within us when it comes to harboring negative thoughts about certain categories of human beings. It's worth asking yourself the hard question: in what ways have you deemed yourself superior to others? Perhaps in some ways you have never allowed yourself to even consider much less admit to before now. And the good news is you are in good company--every person on this planet has in common some version of this.
Yours may not be the same set of biases as someone else's. You may even feel your own reasons for your biases are stronger and more compelling than other people's reasons for their biases. You may not even feel that your bias is a bias, given that you simply believe it to be true. But biases they still are. Maybe the reasons are different, but the results are the same, the result being an unfair prejudice emanating from you, perhaps without your even realizing it, noticing it, or even caring much about it.
Our own personal biases are well worth examining. And we do have to get honest about our own and not be so quick to point fingers at other people's inner darkness and blind spots and biases. Why is it more important to examine our own biases with deeper honesty than to notice other people's prejudices? Because your own are the only ones you can actually change.
By examining your biases and releasing them into the light of deeper understanding, you single-handedly do your part to make this world a better place. Truly all it takes to make this world a better place is your own raised vibration. Your own up-leveling of yourself. Your choosing to go to your own next level is a perfectly viable contribution to the world around you. You matter that much—your inner outlook on the world makes a powerful difference to the whole.