I once thoughts that I could change the behavior of other people, or at the least prevent them from doing what I thought was not normal or proper. To my chagrin, all my efforts to accomplish this usually resulted in negative feelings and actions against me. How often do you feel compelled to take action against others who you feel has wronged you? The road rages on our highways and streets are prime examples of people trying to teach lessons to their fellow drivers. Honking, reckless driving, and finger gestures are negative ways to show disapproval to complete and sometimes innocent strangers. As most of us experienced drivers know, this is not a good technique to show disapproval or change behavior; it only brings upon anger and sometimes violence.
My work history contains plethora of examples of where I attempted to show disapproval of my coworkers. Techniques included avoidance, confrontation, and reporting to supervisors. But to my dismay and much energy expended, my actions resulted in no change to the behavior of the person. One instance where the individual was so reckless in his performance of his job, my criticism to supervisors resulted in my resignation, and promotion to this rogue individual. Attempting to change someone’s behavior most often does not work! I also noticed that more often then not, these negative responses on my part brought upon more of these same types of people who I disapproved. What can we do?
Somewhere in the past, I had read that change comes from within. I had until recently disregarded this idea as baloney, and was confident that it was other people that needed to change to fit my idea of what was right or wrong. My religion that I was born into also confirmed my views on what I thought was right and wrong; and I felt that it gave me the ammunition to show my disapproval. But was I wrong in interpreting and trying to understand my religion. Upon thousands of hours of reading our sacred book, I found out that change does come from within; I will explain.
Everything that happens in the world is supposed to happen; and yet we control our own destiny. In every occurrence we have choices or paths that we can take. I will give you a few examples. The driver who you feel has wronged you by suddenly coming into your lane, you can honk and give him the hand gesture, or you can calm your mind, and thank God that you were able to stop in time. The fellow worker that you feel is taking advantage of others, you can show animosity towards him or you can work with him to become a better worker. My religion says it is our past actions and thoughts that create our own inconveniences in our lives. For example the coworker who makes you angry is only a messenger of what actions you have taken in the past. That unruly driver who tailgates and honks at you is only a messenger of what you have done to others in the past. These incidences give you an opportunity to calm your own mind, and not take action on your anger or other evil thoughts in your mind. By this process, we all have an opportunity to purify our minds. God promises us that when we purify our minds, he will put us on a path where inconveniences in our lives will become less frequent. One can infer that God places us with people that are on the same path. This can be a path of joy if we change ourselves by purifying our minds.
One may wonder what is the process where God collects and stores our actions, to eventually redirect our actions back to us. Do we have a storage unit in our bodies like the DNA in everyone of our cells? Many would agree that there is something that is special in each individual. Some would call this the spirit or soul that will exist for eternity. In our religion, God calls this the heart. It is this soul/heart that is composed of positive energy that collects and stores our negative actions as negative energy; and it is this negative energy that eventually is redirected back to us as inconveniences, temptations or sufferings. We reap what we sow. But because there is reincarnation, the effect and cause are not often associated by the individual unless he or she understands the workings of the soul/heart.
It is this individual that understands the working of the soul that can understand the apparent injustice that may be inflicted on him or her. He or she will understand that the messengers of our inconveniences are not to be blamed or changed; but it is our soul/heart that brings upon these inconveniences in order to purify our minds. If we calm our minds, and not act upon our evil thoughts when our soul brings upon these inconveniences, we can eventually purify our minds. When we purify our minds, the positive soul will bring upon joy only. It is this information about the soul/heart that God informs us to share with others, so we can all be on the path of joy.