The world is perfect. As you question your mind, this becomes more and more obvious. Mind changes, and as a result, the world changes. A clear mind heals everything that needs to be healed. It can never be fooled into believing that there is one speck out of order.
But some people take the insight that the world is perfect and make it into a concept, and then they conclude that there’s no need to get involved in politics or social action. That’s separation. If someone came to you and said, “I’m suffering. Please help me,” would you answer, “You’re perfect just the way you are,” and turn away? Our heart naturally responds to people and animals in need.
Realization has no value until it’s lived. I would travel to the ends of the earth for the sake of one person who is suffering. The desperate, the hopeless, are unenlightened cells of my own body. It’s my own body I’m talking about—the body of the world is my body. Would I let myself drown in water that doesn’t exist? Would I let myself die in an imagined torture chamber? My God, I think, there’s someone out there who really believes there’s a problem. I remember when I used to think there was a problem. How can I say no when that person asks for help? That would be saying no to myself. So I say yes and I go, if I can. It’s a privilege. It’s more than that: it’s self-love.
People are perfect just the way they are, however deeply they’re suffering, but they don’t realize that yet. So when I meet someone who’s suffering, I don’t say, “Oh, there’s no problem, everything is perfect.” Though I can see that there’s never a problem, and I’m available to help him see that, telling him what I see would be unkind. That part of my body is suffering, everything is not perfect for him, because he believes it’s not. I, too, have been trapped in the torture chamber of the mind. I hear what he thinks he needs, I hear his sadness or despair, and I’m available. That’s full-blown activism. In the presence of someone who doesn’t see a problem, the problem falls away—which shows you that there isn’t a problem.
People ask me, “How can you listen to all these problems, day after day, year after year? Doesn’t it drain your energy?” Well, it doesn’t. I’ve questioned my stressful thoughts, and I’ve seen that every single one of them is untrue. Every thought that used to look like a poisonous snake is actually a rope. I could stand over that rope for a thousand years, and never be frightened of it again. I see clearly what some people don’t yet see for themselves. Everyone in the world might come upon that rope and run screaming the other way, and I wouldn’t be afraid for them, feel sorry for them, or worry about them at all, because I realize that they’re not in danger, they’re absolutely not in harm’s way. As they cry snake, I see only rope.
If you have a problem with people or with the state of the world, I invite you to put your stressful thoughts on paper and question them, and to do it for the love of truth, not in order to save the world. Turn it around: save your own world. Isn’t that why you want to save the world in the first place? So that you can be happy? Well, skip the middleman, and be happy from here! You’re it. You’re the one. In this turnaround you remain active, but there’s no fear in it, no internal war. So it ceases to be war trying to teach peace. War can’t teach peace. Only peace can.
From A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are