“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened.”

The Buddhist poster emblazoning this quote on my office wall is a simple decoration from Ross. But it lights a flame inside me every time that I read it.

It reminds me to shine bright in the face of fear. It reminds me to accept the good and the bad.

It reminds me to not blame, judge or even resist the violence rocking our country and world. It reminds me to do instead the work that the world demands of me right now: to clean myself up.

What do I mean by this?

I mean that it is my responsibility to figure myself out internally before I try to figure out anything externally. And that, if I remove the debris from my world, I automatically will remove the debris that I am responsible for from the world.

10 Lessons to Change the World From the Inside Out:

Thousands of candles, zenpencils.com

Artwork © Gavin Aung Than 2012, zenpencils.com

1. Your job is to clean up yourself and your relationship to the world.

If something bothers you and creates resistance or hate in your body, mind or spirit, you have work to do. Not the person responsible for it, but you. Change your inner world to change your outer world.

2. Your job is not to clean up the world.

Every person on this planet has the ability to clean themselves up. It is their job to do this for themselves. Not yours. You can inspire others, but you cannot do anything for them.

3. You cannot fix yourself.

Cleaning yourself up does not mean fixing yourself. You are already perfect as you are. Your job is to remember this. You cannot fix something that is not broken. Drop your expectations. Drop how you think that you should be and accept yourself for how you are.

4. You cannot fix the world.

There is always going to be suffering in the world, just as there always will be love and joy. There is nothing for you to fix. The world is perfect. It is the rest of the world’s job to remember this.

5. You cannot defeat hate with hate.

Whatever you resist persists. Just as the war on drugs never worked, neither will a war on anything. Only love and acceptance can remove hate. Use light to remove darkness.

6. Love the hell out of yourself.

The world can be tough already, so do not be additionally tough on yourself. Love yourself unconditionally. Then, when you are ready, love the world unconditionally.

7. Fill yourself up first.

Fill yourself up with so much love and purpose that there is nowhere else for this energy to go but out into the world. Do not hoard your extra energy. Let your positivity flood the world.

8. The world gets to decide what to do with your energy.

Once your energy overflows into the world, the world gets to decide what to do with it – not you. Lay your purpose at the feet of the gods and let them decide what to do with it. Learn to be nonattached to the fruits of your labor.

9. Only you know what is right for you.

Find the path that is right for you in life, not the one that is right for someone else. Do what makes you happy. Living your purpose is your opportunity to change the world.

10. You do not know what is right for others.

You cannot decide what is right for others. Only they can. It is not your place to tell others what they should do. Support others and offer them the time and guidance that they desire to figure themselves out.

These lessons, though simple, are not necessarily easy to live by. But, in the long run, cleaning yourself up from the inside out will be the most effective and effortless way to change the world.

As personal and global events and the internal and external chatter about them intensify in speed and temperature, life will continue to challenge you. Get steady and cool in your response by scouring yourself.

Trust that, by doing so, you are empowering others to scrub their insides too. And, one by one, we and the world can return to our given state: pristine.

Are you ready to clean yourself up? Then reach out to us about our online or one-on-one coaching programs today!

A Maur Unity collaboration, edited by Maura Bogue