How to Bring Your Best Self to a Divided World

Bring Your Best Self to a Divided WorldThe desire to be better, to bring your best Self to a divided world is natural. It’s what we want to do and what we are called to do. But in our divided world, it feels like we are challenged beyond human powers.

I recommend that you don’t scan this piece for useful advice and facts but rather read it with a deeper meditative approach–see the pragmatic truth in each phrase. Taste and savor the peace and freedom that can come to you if you commit to the practices herein.

Open-mindedness, civility, and understanding in our highly imperfect world appear to be too difficult or requiring more than we have available.

The personal resources that help us operate with civility and create common ground seem out of reach by the overriding, more immediate need to defend our ideas and position.

It feels like life is asking us for everything because tribalism, accusing, and blaming is what we know; it’s our default position.

 

How to Bring Your Best Self to a Divided World?

I’m not ready to give everything….

Society won’t prepare you. Our society is adept at teaching and learning career skills. But we stumble, change the subject, or grow silent when it comes to the things that will help you bring your best Self, what matter most.

We revere the self-made professional who got into a top college, aced the interview, earned prestige and big dollars. But we are voiceless on how to cultivate a deep and profound Inner Self.

The result is an out of balance shallowness or a poverty of sorts — overdeveloped with career and status what is external, at the exclusion of deeper qualities like the ones talked about at a eulogy — faithfulness, humility, courage, kindness, honesty, and being impartial.

That’s the trouble. The only place we talk about possessing self-effacing virtues or what having a good heart looks like is at a funeral, and there it’s in hushed tones.

 

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” –Joseph Campbell

 

There’s an unseen dimension to Bring your best Self to a divided world

In the midst of  a challenge–division and chaos, there exists an unknown and untouched dimension of human life. It’s hidden and yet bigger than anything we can see or describe. It’s more than human and yet fully human.

Like great art, you know it when you see it. And we see it in the noblest and bravest among us.

You can trace transformation and a flowering of this unseen dimension in their journals.

One of the bravest we know is Nelson Mandela.

His fiery temper was burning to change the minds and hearts of his oppressors. But he was labeled a militant and jailed.

His rebel approach didn’t deliver what he wanted. Mandela observed that fighting provoked a more violent response and he was the direct recipient.

He became like his oppressors and unintentionally diminished the humanity he was fighting to elevate.

Mandela discovered the hard truth that he couldn’t put out fires elsewhere if fire smoldered at home in his own heart.

In the quiet of his jail cell, he transformed himself from rebel to advocate and brought his wiser, kinder Self as he prepared to change the world.

 

The outcome from bringing your better Self

On the day of Mandela’s release, he addressed his countrymen, saying, “I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy, and freedom for all. I stand here not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.

Four years later, Mandela was elected president, and with abundant forgiveness, he invited his prison wardens to his inauguration.

Mandela said later. As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.

 

Anwar Sadat is another courageous Soul who transformed himself. He was raised and deeply conditioned to hate neighboring Israel.

But imprisoned in the solitary Cell 54, in Cairo Central Prison, he examined his thinking.

 

He later wrote in his memoir,In Search of Identity,’ “My contemplation of life and human nature in that secluded place taught me that he who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality and will never, therefore, make any progress.”

Sadat overlooked past hostilities and Arab-Israeli hatreds and worked to create a new script for future generations.

Mahatma Gandhi had similarly transformed himself from firebrand to advocate

Comedian Jim Carrey, an unlikely noble Soul also transformed his life in his own style.

 

Countless people have made the inner journey of transformation visible for us to follow

 

Maybe you have a powerful Human Spirit story in your family?

The point is we can all develop access to the Human Spirit and ignite a sea change with this previously unseen dimension.

There’s nothing wrong with working on degrees, certifications, and climbing the organizational chart. We need to do that.

 

But current chaos and division is pointing to the need to cultivate a deep and profound Inner Self.

It makes no difference if you call it Human Spirit, Soul, Human Nature, Essence, Inner Self, Heart, or Character.

The common thread running through all those terms points to qualities that exist deep in every Human Being no matter your culture, geography, heritage or what beliefs you follow. 

You could say we need to cross-train ourselves to meet the demands of an ever changing, complex, civilized society.

 

Human Nature is loftier than we know

The noble ones made the labyrinth known. They showed us how, with skill, bitterness and anger can be converted to advocacy. Forgiveness is also a skill. Love is a skill.

We are capable.

All we have to do is follow.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

© Brian Braudis 2020, All rights reserved

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