A Change Of Heart

A lot of time is spent trying to change each other’s minds when what we really need is a change of heart.

Modern technology gives us the ability to exchange ideas, opinions, and beliefs with almost anyone in the world in an instant. While we may hope that this free exchange of information would give humanity the ability to come together more easily around the things that truly matter, that has not necessarily proven to be the case. In fact, it could be argued that the world, the continents, and even individual countries, cities, and towns are more divided than ever.

While ideas, opinions, and beliefs do have the power to induce or incite some forms of unified action, whether positive or negative, they do not tend to change people to the degree that is necessary for true connectedness. The problem is that, quite often, the ideas, opinions, and beliefs we express are the most superficial representations of our deeper truths. Without digging down into and addressing the causes and conditions that led us to these ideas, opinions, and beliefs, the change they create in others tends to be superficial as well.

More often than not, what we see is that the views we express publicly only tend to connect us with those who already agree with what was expressed while also further distancing us from, or even putting us in direct conflict with, those who hold different views. If we truly seek to change the world for the better, we must be willing and able to reach those who do not yet agree with us, but this is nearly impossible if we approach them superficially by trying to change their minds. Deep, meaningful, long-lasting change begins in our hearts where empathy, compassion, and understanding join us together in spite of our ideas, opinions, and beliefs.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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