Evolution is Everyone’s Birthright
By Eric Thompson
I believe human beings are capable of developing along a broad spectrum of consciousness, capable of evolving beyond their present stage of understanding and relating to the world. While most people don’t seem to develop very far along that expanse, it doesn’t mean they can’t. It simply means that, for whatever reason, they’ve chosen not to.
In my own life I’ve witnessed quite a progression from how I lived and related to the world just five years ago. After having struggled in perpetual misery with major, life-threatening bouts of depression for many years, I eventually came to a decision that I’d had enough, and that I’d find some real solutions, no matter what might be required. Today, I live a very different life from my old one, free from the crippling symptoms of severe depression, and I do so without the aid of pharmaceutical drugs. How? In a word, development.
At a certain point, I’d simply had enough misery in life and was able to make a quality decision for real change. After learning a method for letting go of virtually any emotional stress or trauma, I began experiencing extended periods of deep peace and joy. I started realizing, ever so slowly at first, that I was in fact creating my own misery, and I soon committed to changing my view of myself and my world. I took personal responsibility for my life and began a meditation practice, engaging in serious self-inquiry, constantly asking myself if I was willing to let go of attachments and fears. And as I did so, my life tangibly changed for the better and I began to see the world very differently. This development didn’t occur overnight; it wasn’t easy, nor was it always fun. Yet I knew that by being willing to face my fears and take responsibility for my life, I’d eventually overcome.
I’ve since learned that stage models in developmental psychology now indicate that when, or if, a person successfully jumps to the next level of development, the world this person sees absolutely changes. And I’ve discovered that this is indeed the case. The world I experience now has changed dramatically because “I’ve” changed. Where I used to see hopelessness and limitation, I now see hope and promise, even when things get tough.
I now see that the greatest contribution to humanity anyone can give is quite literally the gift of what they have become. Our greatest gift is ourselves, fully engaged in this tremendous epic called life, and committed not only to developing our uttermost potential, but to transcending our sense of self altogether; not just for personal glory, but for the satisfaction that comes from giving and being our most authentic self. Essentially, I believe we make a difference in the world not so much by what we say or do, as by virtue of what we are. So when I see others, I now see that we all have this innate birthright: the potential for positive change and evolution.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.