“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
What would you change in the world if you had a chance? A priest who was traveling through Grand Central Station posed this question to a woman who was slumped against a wall, homeless, friendless and ‘an empty shell’. Her answer was that she would change her mind. She was so filled with bitterness and an inability to forgive. Her only desire was to let go of hatred and that by so doing, would become free.
This is the same awakening that the physician in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous discovered in his recovery from alcoholism. He says that acceptance taught him that ‘it is not so much what needs to be changed in the world, as what needs to be changed in me’. The one thing we have the ability to change in this world requires a huge undertaking. For the one thing that can be changed is me.
“Repentance calls us to an inner healing that comes from choosing a new mindset, moving us in a new direction, and releasing all that holds our heart in bondage.” ~ Daniel Groody
I was privileged to hear the joys, pain, celebrations, and sufferings of my counseling patients for four decades. Often their emotions have been hinged on the doings of family members, employers, frustrations with the government or a variety of other external events. These all have the ability to please us or fill us with bitterness. Not much of it is in our control.
I have learned that bitterness and resentment have a sticky quality. That stickiness becomes more than a diversion and can become the kind of hatred that so overpowered the woman who met the priest in Grand Central. Freedom comes when we let go of those external distractions, take responsibility, and forgive. Then we can set a new course, follow a new star, and change our direction home. This is the essence of a really radical awakening.
Robert Kenneth Jones
Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.
In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.
His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.
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Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast