The Law of Inside-Out
Jesus once told his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). For students of spiritual truth there are two important points to consider about Jesus’ choice of words. The first is what he meant by the word trouble, and the second is what he meant by the word overcome.
Most people living in today’s world have no lack of problems or troubles. Not only are the age-old difficulties of getting along with others, fending off disease and earning our daily bread still highly problematic, but in our modern world we also have new unforeseen pressures, such as the complications that arise when becoming acclimated to advanced technologies. For most people, however, their approach to dealing with these difficulties does not reflect any deep spiritual insight or desire for inward amendment. Rather, instinctually they view their problems as outside forces of inertia that must be fought against and defeated. That is why most people also have what they consider to be enemies—that is, people opposing them and causing them resistance and pain. Thus their lives are not only plagued with problems; they are also given over to hostility and bellicosity.
This them-and-us mindset is not only simplistic; it is also emotionally reactionary. It evokes from us a veritable plethora of negative emotionalism—fear, hatred, anger, resentment and criticism, to name a few. We see ourselves as right and our enemies as wrong, and we justify our judgments through the activating of a strong emotional response. This habitual reactionary response may be comfortable for us, but the fact is that it can be very counterproductive and harmful to us. Not only does it turn our lives into a battleground; it makes us miserable in the process. This can be ascertained by observing ourselves when we succeed in banishing a problematic situation. Instead of finally making things right in our life, all we end up doing is opening the door to other problems. We can never find peace or happiness because our battles never cease. This is what the Bible means when it says: “There is no rest for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:22).
There is really only one way to get off this treadmill of blame and emotional reactivity. We must cease from our them-and-us battle stance and gain the spiritual revelation that our problems never actually have their source outside of us, but are rather the demonstration of our own state of consciousness. This is the path of full responsibility, which means that ultimately it is the path of peaceful coexistence with our fellowman and the establishing of a virtually problem-free life.
When Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” he was speaking of a world in which taking full individual responsibility is very rare. Of course, we will have trouble in such a world. The way to overcome, the way he overcame, is not to fight and not to blame someone or something outside of ourselves. Such a stance only perpetuates our discordant experience. The way to overcome is to change our own state of consciousness.
There is a state of consciousness that is so benign that, once attained, one no longer sees evil. This state is not the stuff of mental delusions. It is an actual change in our reality view, in which we are so caught up to heaven within ourselves that evil cannot touch us. As the Bible says, “You will look for your enemies and not be able to find them." (Isaiah 41:12). This is not accomplished by fighting and winning. It is done by changing our own state of consciousness.
This is not to imply that changing one’s state of consciousness is an easy or quick fix. On the contrary, it is both difficult, and in most cases, drawn out over a long duration of time. But there is a starting point that can be enacted this very moment. That starting point is the decision to cease from our blame game, turn inward and be willing to accept the responsibility for our life’s discords, as issuing forth from our own state of consciousness. This then will begin the journey of consciousness evolution that Jesus once called the return to the Father’s house. (Luke 15:18).
To develop our individual consciousness along these lines will not necessarily impact the collective chemistry of our world, at least not immediately. But we will soon begin to see improvements in our own lives that are irrefutable. For the true creative law of our universe operates from the inside outward. In other words, it is a scientific certainty that once our inner realm is full of light and swept clean, our outer world will follow suit. Discord and trouble will give way to harmony and peace.
This was how Jesus overcame the world. Obviously, he did not seek to amend the outer reality first. This would have necessitated fighting against the Roman Empire. Even if he could have succeeded at such an undertaking, it would not have been lasting. Rather, it would only have perpetuated our world’s them-and-us syndrome. Jesus understood the universal law that it is consciousness that creates conditions, not the other way around. Therefore he left us a teaching aimed at inward amendment only. This has perplexed people down through the age and given Jesus’ critics abundant fuel for skepticism. But his approach, though slow to bear fruit, has proven to be prophetically efficacious. Only now is it becoming apparent that Jesus’ way of overcoming the world is the only way that is enduring. It has transformed the individual lives of a veritable multitude over the course of the past 2,000 years. Now, at long last, the fruits of this age-long individual demonstration are beginning to impact the collective whole. Thus Jesus actually did overcome the world, not just for himself and his followers but for every man, woman, and child that will ever be born on this planet.
Of course, there have been and will always be those who cling to their them-and-us mentality. But the truth about this matter is neither delusional nor emotionally reactive. It is scientific and based strictly on universal law. Inside-out is not a philosophy or novel approach. It is pure time-tested science. As Jesus once said, “Nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean. What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean.” (Mark 7:18,20). When all the people living in our world give credence to this universal law we will surely be on our way to witnessing the dawning of the New Age of Enlightenment.