“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

We’ve all heard this gem of wisdom, and we all know Mohandas Gandhi first uttered it, right? Well, not exactly. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great quote. It’s easy to remember. And it leads us to live better lives. But it’s not the whole story, and in our 140 character or less “Twitterfied” world, it’s good to sometimes have the whole story. The shortened quote may be a shortened paraphrase of Gandhi’s basic thought, but the full quote from which this tidbit derives is as follows:


We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. 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. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.

It’s plain to understand why some people may want to reduce Gandhi’s full quote to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It easier than taking the time and putting in the hard work of following Gandhi’s complete advice. The short quote is to the full quote as a cubic zirconia is to a diamond. Nice and shiny, but worth a fraction.

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In my practice as a chakra meditation Teacher, I cannot remember the number of times I’ve had a student stop after 10 or 15 minutes of chakra meditation and say, “It’s so hard to focus! Is there an easier way?” My reply is gentle, but firm: “Change is a way of life, not a compartmentalized part of your life.”

Gandhi’s quote reinforces my instruction. To gain rootedness and confidence and love and wisdom externally, to draw well-being to ourselves – we must first achieve those states of being internally within ourselves. We attract what we create, and we create by our being. This cannot happen without doing the work of inner renovation.

This is, after all, the foundation of the Universal Law of Attraction. What we out to the Universe, we draw to ourselves. What we intend, we create. But this intention cannot just be cosmetic. The intention must be firmly grounded in our very being. If we are not actually peace, we cannot attract peace. I we are not actually love, we cannot attract love. Simply put, we are what we create, and we create what we are.


This is why I focus so much of my teaching at the Association for Integrative Meditation on balancing and energizing chakra centers, understanding the 12 Laws of Karma, and then helping students put that work into attracting what they desire and need in their lives. The foundational work comes first.
Perhaps now you can see why Gandhi’s quote was quickly shortened. The spiritual path is not easy, but it is worthwhile. The more work we put into inner transformation, the more we receive from it. As my momma used to say, “Nothing in life is free.” This is as true in the realm of spirit as it is in the realm of the physical. If you want it, work for it.

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To find out more about the courses on offer at the Association for Integrative Meditation, please visit http://www.aimfordivinity.org/programs.html. You can also register for our free Ascension Level 1 Course at http://www.aimfordivinity.org/store/p7/Ascension_Level_1.html.

Paul D Payne
Founder, Association for Integrative Meditation
Twitter: @aimfordivinity
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