In Hyde Park, London, there is a man standing on a wooden fruit box and speaking in a loud voice. Two policemen are standing idly behind the small crowd that has gathered to listen to the man.
“Look around you, people,” the man says. “Look what we are doing to our only home, our only planet earth that has given birth to us and that sustains us, provides us with clean air and food and water and warmth. Look how we are bulldozing our forests, cutting down trees that give us oxygen that we must breathe to live. Look how we are poisoning our waters and our soil and the air and how we are using up all the resources that nature provides us in our blind greed and madness. Look how we are burning each other alive and bombing our cities and threatening each other with nuclear weapons. Look at the madness, look at the insanity!”
More people gather around to listen to the man. Two more policemen arrive at the scene.
The orator continues: “It should be clear by now to everyone that man as he is currently is mad. There is insanity inside us, because otherwise how could we wreak such destruction to ourselves and to one another, to our environment and to the entire planet? We have all the luxuries and comforts people could only dream about a few decades ago, and yet we seem to be more dissatisfied than ever before. Why is this? Why is it that we don’t seem to be able to live in harmony, not only with other nations, with other races and skin colours and with people who differ from us in some absolutely insignificant ways, but also with our own families and friends and relatives? Everywhere we go we bring some kind of conflict with us, to every relationship and to every endeavour. Our politics, our businesses, our relationships, are all riddled with conflicts and wars and battles. Everywhere there is violence, abuse, oppression, cunning, scheming, plotting; everywhere there is greed and ambition and envy and anger and hate. The mind of man is broken and it needs healing!”
Some in the crowd burst into a loud cheering and whistling and clapping and shouting. Continuously more people flow in and gather around.
“We are like lost sheep far away from home,” the orator goes on. “Lost and fearful, hungry and tired. We are like birds who have flown to faraway lands and remember not the way back home. We are like a pack of wolves who are forever fighting one another in a fruitless pursuit for power and prestige. But let me tell you, my dear fellow humans: all is not lost! Even though very narrow, a path indeed does exists that leads to life. It is a path filled with light and the destination of which is peace and harmony and eternal life. And this path is not guarded by men who only allow people of certain colour or certain religion or certain nationality, for this path is meant for all mankind, regardless of how one looks, sounds or smells. And this path is not somewhere over there, but deep within you, deep within each and everyone of us. It is the path where we find goodness and love. The path that shows us the way of wisdom and intelligence.”
“Go home, you bloody hippie!” someone yells from the crowd.
But the man continues his speech: “This path is the only way for salvation! It is the way that has been pointed out by the masters and mystics of human history. But few are those who have followed the path, and even fewer are those who have made it a way of life. And so it is that when the time is ripened by insurmountable challenges, obstacles and problems, only then do species take the evolutionary leap to avoid destruction. But as history has shown us, not all make it in time. And that threshold, which is the line between human survival and extinction, is nearing. What we need in this dire situation is not to point fingers and find those who are guilty, but a revolution of the inner realm, a revolution of the heart, and that revolution can only happen inside each individual. Yes, it is a private matter, and yet it is our uttermost responsibility to seek it, because it is the only way to heal the insanity that is inherent in us all.”
The crowd applauds and cheers.
“Let us not celebrate just yet!” the man says. “Before we shall rest with complacency, we must bring about healing in ourselves! The only real change is the change of heart, the change of mind, the change of consciousness. Without a profound inner change within each one of us, we cannot hope for a change on the outer level, in society, in politics, in the environment and in our relationships. It is our responsibility to become lanterns for this change by realising peace within ourselves and dissolving all conflict that still exists in us. Only when we have become free of the dysfunctional activities of the mind that bring about disharmony, conflict, aggression and turmoil, only then can we hope to see a new earth. A mere outer revolt won’t do! Many times over have we seen that a structural reform never really leads anywhere, and in the end brings about the same conflicts and problems that were present in the previous structures that we had. Every time the same madness comes to surface and again a new war starts for some abstract reason and again there are nothing but losers on each side. Isn’t it curious, my friends, that it seems like the human mind cannot live without conflict? Always there has to be enemies and opponents and those who are wrong while we ourselves are right. Always we find a new enemy somewhere, someone to blame for all the evils of the world. So the question is this: can we stop the search for enemies and wrongdoers and infidels and come to a place of peace and acceptance within ourselves so that we can live in harmony with other people, even while they still carry their particular limitations and imperfections? Can we see the same light shining in the eyes of our neighbour that is also shining in our own eyes? And can we thus love our neighbour as ourselves and know that deep down we are all living by the grace of the same God?”
The orator stepped down from the wooden fruit box and walked away.