The "Practical Spirituality" Newspaper

The Motivation to Change

In Conscious Living, Study Group on August 5, 2009 at 12:12 pm

IMG_5421Last night we discussed the subject of change in study group. We talked about two types of changes. The first type we discussed were the changes that ‘happen’ in our external environment. Events that we need to play a part in and respond to. The second type of change we talked about were the changes that we initiate, the changes we consciously choose to create so that we influence the external environment of our lives.

In short, we looked at ‘outside-to-in’ changes and then as ‘inside to out’ changes. The second of which taking up most of the nights conversation, of which ran 45 mins into overtime!

Why do we want change’? was a question that arose. What part(s) of our lives do we wish to change… what parts of ourselves do we want to change? And most importantly, why?

When we ask the question of ‘why?’, many things come to light about our real motivations as we found out last night. Seeking change, at first appearance seems to be a healthy thing. A thing that is part and parcel of the exercising of free will. And by definition, exercising our will and designing our lives in the ways we see fit would seem to be healthy. Sure, it often is. But not always!

If you inspect the things you want to change in your life, often the reason we want to make changes is because we are unhappy with our current situation.

Although it’s not always the case, we generally use this as our equation to bring about change in our lives…

.A. We are displeased with the present reality + .B. We prefer-something-else to be our reality = We would then be happy. ( Note. When we get to the answer – the ‘being happy part’, I don’t know. Usually we get caught up in the math and keep doing the sum over and over again as we find something new to fault! )

Another question arose during the conversation. A question that contrasts much of the drama that we create for ourselves. ‘What if nothing ever changed in your life? What if the person you now are were who you were for the rest of your life, would you be happy?’

After asking that question, the temperament of the room seemed to change as many of the inadequacies, fears and ‘incorrect views’ came to light. Often when people hear this question, the answer is a negative one rather than positive or joyous. It’s interesting to watch the painful expression on peoples faces and the disdainful words they utter as they contemplate this dire thought. The mere thought of ‘living with yourself’ seems to be a nightmarish thing… the worst thing that could happen… as though ‘being you’ were a pain wracked hell to experience with no hope of pardon or reprieve.

It seems there’s always something that we wish were different about ourselves or the lives we live. And that by ‘being free’ to make these changes we will be happy. Happy because we will keep us just far enough ahead of what we really think and feel about ourselves. And our lives.

So, armed with a poor opinion as our motive we seek to change. And better ourselves. Regardless of whether our view is accurate or not, we look for ‘something more, better than before’. And in that very act, we become blind to what we have and who we now are. ( Not to mention the fact we are provided with life and get to live in the first place. )

We empty out the reality in order to secure the fantasy. And in that moment, it seems that all good about ourselves is lost. And all previously worked for gains go missing, obliterated by ‘the next improvement’ to be made.

Seeking change or to write the script of your life IS healthy. Often it is our approach that is not. Rather than seeking out lasting benefits, lasting joys and ongoing peace for ourselves, we turn our mind to lesser tasks than expressing our finest qualities or living true-to-our-best. We often get caught up in a cycle of head talk ( without knowing it ) and spin the wheel of karma ( actions-with-direct-consequences ) in destructive directions.

In those moments where we pick on ourselves ( in the name of betterment ), we act as though nothing ever changes. That we will be stuck, forevermore with the thing that causes us displeasure. And, to top it all off, we believe that without our effort, without our heaving the great wheel of change and turning things to our favour, we believe that we will be worse off – a nonsense.

When you look, and I mean really look, many of the things we seek to change are because of negative appraisals, lack of insight, poor reasoning… and angst if things were to stay the same.

But what if underneath all the head talk, poor opinion, stories and shallow judgments about what is wrong with you and your life… what if you were perfect, whole and complete? What if you were a Buddha, what if you were made in the image of God, at-one-with-Nature or were a child of the Nniverse? ( Prove you aren’t! )

Wouldn’t it be a tragedy to find out that you were spiritually perfect, fully whole right now. And that your self image and your habit of negative self-reference blinded you to that reality, causing you to act in lesser ways?

In that light, do you still want to change?

It seems we are stuck, but not in the way we commonly think. We aren’t stuck with a ‘faulty self leading a faulty life’. We are stuck in a cycle of change, seeking to improve someone who might already be perfect ( underneath all the labels you have for yourself ).

We are stuck – caught up in the habit of changing ourselves and our lives, with negative opinions and faulty beliefs fueling our efforts. Pushing ourselves to be something else, addicted to the act of doing so… with no real idea of what we are exactly aiming for…

Q. Can you stop yourself from seeking change? Or does your mind compel you to change your life, alter things and adjust who you now are?

( If the answer is yes to the latter question, then you are not the one creating change in your life… your self image is! )

Q. Can you leave things alone long enough to enjoy life as it is?

More later.

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