How to Change From the Inside Out, Rather than the Outside In

Q: Why is it that we’ve advanced so far in scientific and technological knowledge and not so much in personal relationships and communities?

How far science has advanced is a subject for another day. As far as knowing ourselves goes, we’re trying to use knowledge to change our behavior from the outside in: use this app to track how many steps you take, use that app to meditate for five minutes, use another app to measure heart rate and breathing during exercise. use this parenting app to show you how to discipline your children, your dogs, yourself. It is another step in the removal from self-awareness.

Many of us no longer know how to use instinct, or the senses, or awareness to understand and accurately interpret input that’s being received or experienced.

What’s truly needed is an inner awareness. To be fully present in the now. To be aware of our presence in the natural world. To identify what we feel when we feel it. And to know where that feeling is coming from. Is it a memory? Is it something in the environment? Is it an anticipation of something in the future?

Because most of us don’t know how to be in the present, we have no way of identifying where our feelings are coming from. Why we are feeling them. Or what they are connected to.  There is often a misinterpretation and a transference that confuses us.

Q: Where are the messages we receive actually coming from?

For the unaware individual, there is no way of knowing who the self is in time. There’s just the constantly swirling hurricane of emotions from the past, present, and future. All of which can be misinterpreted as belonging to the present. Old hurts can be placed on something said in the present, creating hurt where no hurt was intended. The past now becomes the present, without an awareness that we are not seeing the present as the present. We have overlaid the past onto the present. This is how grudges are carried forward, and bitterness, anger, and judgement take hold. All of this is separating. We’re caught up in the emotions coming from this hurricane of feelings.

All of this can leave us in a constant state of ready alertness, in reaction to feeling constantly under attack. When, in fact, we’re not being attacked from the outside, but rather the inside.

So, until there can be a cleanup of the experience and a correct orientation in time, there can be no clarity of awareness of what we are feeling or why. We’re caught up in a reactive cascade. It’s why so many people have trouble meditating. It’s like the cartoon character Pig Pen with the cloud of dust and dirt swirling around him. As long as he moves, the dust cloud doesn’t settle on him. But once he stops, the dust cloud settles on him. And, he can’t separate the dust from himself. He can’t separate the outer thoughts and reactions from his inner beingness.

Q: So how does a teacher help someone get out of that little hurricane and get cleaned?

First, by reaching an awareness of what is actually happening in the present. Then, by helping the student become adept at meditation, to help orient them in time.

The act of meditation becomes the umbrella against many of the swirling thoughts.

Eventually, when one is a skilled meditator, one can close the umbrella. Because all the swirling thoughts will have fallen to the ground, no longer causing a disturbance.

Now it’s possible to stand up and look about freely, out of the whirlwind, and experience peace.  Peace centers us in the present. Being centered in the present allows time to stop. Once time stops, there can be no more thoughts from the past or future interfering. Because the past and future cease to exist.

Q: Is what you are saying then is that until we all are meditating regularly, there’s really not going to be significant change in civilization.  


Q: But so many people have an attitude about meditation? How do you convince people that this is the answer?

You can’t convince others of anything. They must come to the realization on their own. What you can do is show as clear a picture as you can of your experience, and perhaps open them to see for themselves.

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