Changing Your Mind vs. Changing the World—Part 2

by William R. Yoder on November 28, 2009

[see previous post] Because many people think they need to change the world in order to be happy, we find lots of books that tell us how to manipulate others and the world. There are many approaches available: goal-setting and action-plans, using subliminal persuasion techniques, working hard and saving wisely. And then there are the esoteric and metaphysical approaches we often find in the “desire and manifestation” literature. All these techniques basically involve using mind-power to somehow change the world: affirmations and visualizations, special mantras that allow you to simply create what you want, techniques that allow you to magnetically attract everything you want to come to you. And this will supposedly bring you happiness.

But often the common thread in these approaches is that the secret to happiness lies in somehow changing the world. Once the world is different, once other people are different, once you have the things you want and need—then (and only then) you will be happy. Your circumstances and possessions and relationships are what make you happy or unhappy, the causes of your happiness or unhappiness. And your role in all of this is learning special techniques that allow you to mold the world and others to your desires.

I think of this whole approach as a “technique approach.” Simply learn the right things to say and do, and the right way to affirm and visualize, and you will be able to change the world and be happy. This is the most widespread overall approach to happiness—mainly, I think, because our unhappiness almost always involves blaming something outside ourselves for the unhappiness. And so of course the solution will be to somehow change the world.

The problem is that the technique approach all by itself will not work, at least not in a consistent or lasting way. Moreover, constantly focusing on the world as the source of our unhappiness distracts us from those inner beliefs that are blocking our ability to experience true happiness—in the language of A Course in Miracles, the inner obstacles to the awareness of the presence of love.

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Dawn Hayman November 30, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Hi Bill,
This is very thought provoking! I love the blog and enjoyed reading your posts. Congratulations and best wishes. And of course…… Much Happiness!

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