Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, commonly known as ‘Mahatma’ (“Great Soul”) Gandhi, was the pre-eminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. He is world renowned as a key inspiration for change through non-violent civil rights movements.
He is oft quoted as saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. It is a wonderful concept, but it cannot actually be attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. The closest that has been found is the following, far more lucid quote:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do.”
Whilst he often spoke more on social change, this, to me, suggests the idea that we can create the life we want by changing our relationship with ourselves. We spend our lives changing ourselves and adapting to life, hoping to create our dreams and goals. What drives us forward towards making these changes is the desire to be happy in a way that we are currently lacking.
But if we claim and practise that happiness right now, because all types of happiness are freely and infinitely available, we will begin to attract the change that will make that aspect of happiness effortless, and our suffering will dissolve.
This actual phrase that Gandhi spoke elucidates the common phrase, not just as a motive force for social change, but also in helping our experience of life match up with our deepest desires.
Mantras and visualisations – for manifesting what our hearts most desire – are useful in that they allow us to experience that happiness right now. Which is the way it should be, as now is the only time.