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Revolution or Transformation?

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[I don't know if this is an either/or question but some interesting observations here. I certainly agree the personal transformation must come first, otherwise we're only perpetrating the same old paradigms, no matter how well intentioned anyone's actions may be.

That spiritual change must be first and foremost and is by far the most powerful transformative device we have at our disposal. However, once we've come through this awakening, how it changes the course of our lives may take many shapes. But it will bring about action. If it doesn't lead to committed action in some form I then doubt that a real consciousness shift took place. - Zen]

Beverly Blanchard, Contributor
Waking Times

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. – Rumi

There has been some discussion lately regarding Russell Brand’s interview with Jeremy Paxman. There was nothing new in what Russell was saying.  The points of view he put forth regarding political corruption, corporate interests, materialism and the potential devastation of Planet Earth have all been cited before.  People’s discontent with the various institutions in this world has been going on for centuries.

I agree with Russell’s opinion about the importance being aware of what is going on in the world. I just don’t believe that getting emotionally charged up about the issues actually increases awareness levels and empowers people.

I agree that there needs to be a change.  Where I differ with him is in how the change needs to come about. Russell seems to advocate the need for people to rise up, take a stance and engage in some sort of revolution. The problem with this approach is it creates an attitude of us against them and there are varying interests and intents within the ‘us’ crowd.  Furthermore, when people become emotionally charged in fighting that which they are against, they end up fighting amongst themselves and when the smoke clears, there is no concrete transformation.  There may have been minor changes but everything seems to revert back to the status quo or the pendulum swings to the opposite extreme.

Take a look at the history books.  A relatively recent example of this is the 1960s Hippie Movement/Revolution.  By the 1970s, many of the hippies cut their hair and exchanged the bellbottom jeans for the corporate suits.  They became the establishment, and life continued on.  Peace, love and equality made way for profits.

Our power does not come through revolutions or marching in the streets.  As the mystics, poets and sages have told us for centuries; it comes from going within and transforming yourself. If you do not like what you are seeing in the outer world, the starting point must be with oneself.  The world we chose to see is a mirror reflection of the inner workings of our mind.  All change is a movement of the mind.  To try to change the outer is fruitless.  It is like expecting the image that is reflecting back at you in the mirror to change.

In order to change the mind, you have to venture within and sometimes this process can be frightening because what you uncover about yourself can be disturbing.  Try this simple experiment for five minutes.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.  As your breathing becomes deeper, start saying the words, ‘I am’.  As you do this, you may discover how much your mind wanders.  On the surface, you may think that you are positive but when you become aware of your inner dialogues you sometimes discover that your thinking is creating arguments and pointing fingers of blame at outside people and circumstances.

We only perceive what we want to see/hear/feel, and the trouble with that is when we focus our attention on the wrong-doings or that which we don’t like, we empower it. Our world is not created by circumstances; it is created by our perception.  If we are not in harmony with ourselves, we cannot point the finger of blame on the outside.  It is within that the change must take place.  We must recognize where we are placing our attention because that focus coupled with emotion creates our world.

About the Author

Beverly Blanchard is a freelance writer, artist and personal coach. She spent most of her life studying ancient wisdom in search of answers to life. Beverly has studied energy work and how this affects the body. She is the author of Into the Waves. Please visit her blog at www.beverlyblanchard.blogspot.ca where this article was originally featured.





  1. Well done Beverley Blanchard and Zen for recognising this distinction, I wholeheartedly agree. Great quote from an old friend of ours, Rumi. When one turns consciously and wholeheartedly within, that is when the world becomes a far clearer place as does our place and purpose within it. It is a filthy horrific world and it is also a beautiful and wonderful world. Everything is double-edged…including ourselves. Therein lies the rub. R

  2. This is certainly not an either / or question. Humans are not above nature and those taking action against what is perpetrated against life are responding to a call for help. They are sensitive and spiritual even if they are not aware of it. Julian Rose nailed it when he wrote in ‘At the point of No Return’:

    We are approaching the point of no return. If we don’t respond to the myriad calls for help that are echoing around this World at an ever increased velocity each day, then we will be condemning ourselves – and those who call upon us – to being forever stranded upon a desolate and barren shore.

    That help starts with helping each other to break free from our learned and self induced state of fear and pacifism. A combination that pretty much guarantees an unwillingness to act. An unwillingness to act even when presented with the choice of participating in a mass genocide or opposing it. I use the word ‘pacifism’ here to convey a ‘state of withdrawal’ in face of the need to act. I do not refer to the choice, which everybody has, to refrain from violence. These are two very different conditions. In this context, taking the decision not to act with violence – is an action. Taking no decision, but simply retreating into a shell – is not.

    This unwillingness to act is giving voice to the notion that ‘no action’ is the spiritual choice of the knowing. That to retire into a cul-de-sac of meditation and inward looking self examination can ‘change the world’ by dint of a shifted value focus. Can serve to hermetically seal the self away from the trials and tribulations of the outer world and thereby help avoid any confrontation with that which demands a full and spontaneous response.

    Confrontation, in this view, is a negative, reactionary manifestation that undermines ‘peace’ and the supposed tranquility of a chimeric world which takes over from rational observations and becomes the new reality. A ‘virtual reality’. This is a deeply flawed and dangerous ethos. For it splits in half that which is whole and sets the two halves in opposition to each other.

    We are ‘of nature’ not above or outside it. We go forth and we return. That is the Tao. Universal forces all dance to this tune. Breath, ocean waves, cycles of birth and death, growth and decay, all is in motion and at rest, all the time. There is no contradiction. Outward action and inward contemplation are two halves of one whole. They are synonymous. One should move between the two constantly and joyously.

  3. When I saw Russell Brand on the “revolution” wagon, I thought two things. One, this man is a puppet and two, this man is a puppet making money on the mainstream idea of revolution. I feel his “job” is to dumb down those who are just awakening to the truth that their lives as slaves to BIG ANYTHING is very real. Going with emotions clouds judgement and fuels mob mentality. Perfect planning in dividing to conquer!
    Currently playing in my head, Queen – Another One Bites the Dust ;-)

    • I agree that Brand can be considered a Trojan horse. He spouts many things that are true, but his answers for what to do ring hollow. Distributing wealth aka Socialism and Communism doesn’t work. What has history shown us? The ruling oligarchy is already driving us toward Socialsim. This is a system run by the few, parceling out the scraps to the masses. We do not want this! The crony capitalism we currently have is a diseased system, I agree, but we need to keep incentives in our lives to be productive. Some sort of risk/reward system needs to be retained.

      • What is being productive? Actually. Productive for whom and what? Only the weak, the elderly and the infirm should be provided for in my opinion. And even they can contribute something. Everyone else needs to work foremost on themselves and secondly on what they can provide their community. Everyone has a job, calling, gifts to give.
        Risk = slavery
        Reward = freedom
        Incentive = personal empowerment, community, personal responsibility, love (the agape kind), health, vitality, sharing, good times, knowledge of support, knowledge of self, life purpose, solid communion with the cosmos, etc and so forth.
        That’s how I see it, anyways :-)
        A really great question to ask is: if suddenly everything stops, there’s no money, no banks, no PTB, what would you do with your life?

  4. Playing devil’s advocate here: Maybe Russell is currently clever and not yet wise. Even those committed to following the right path must go through this. If it comes out that he has consciously made a choice to play the role of “controlled opposition” this will become more apparent as time goes on.

  5. If we next see him co-starring with Mel Gibson on a direct-to-video movie, we’ll know he’s overstepped his boundaries.

  6. What a great article – almost overlooked this one. Very spot on. I am working on my own personal transformation and am leery of the call for revolution or push towards “action”. There are so many provocateurs and cointelpro agents out in the alternative news media and protest scene.. people get involved in that wanting to change the world and end up as somebody’s tool. In the face of the myriad of assaults against human health and dignity, I think we should all reflect on the difference between the wise man and the fool with respect to this article and the Rumi quote… thanks

  7. I think we give Russell Brand way too much attention. He is like the Hokey Pokey…that’s what it’s all about! Beverly is a good writer…thanks Zen for the on her blog :)

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