Change starts with us. We often say that change is good, but in truth we are often afraid of change, even if it would mean making a difference that will improve our experience and the experience of others. We also talk about “growing pains.” We’re morbidly afraid of pain and discomfort, but these fears create stasis and slothfulness. Our addiction to comfort is going to kill us all, because if we are too comfortable then we are happy not to strive, we thus fail to thrive. No bueno. Here are a few steps to help make that subtle, yet radical shift
- Live With Discipline. Self-control and discipline are very powerful in building a richer, happier and more enlightened life. With discipline comes serenity. Think of a wire cable; it is not one large wire, but hundreds of tiny wires placed on top of one another. Alone, each wire is flimsy and weak, but together their sum is much greater than the constituent parts. To build a strong will it is necessary to commit small acts in tribute to the virtue of personal discipline. Routinely performed these tiny acts pile on top of one another to eventually produce an abundance of inner strength. Just like a fishing net is a collection of strings which together can capture whole schools of fish – think of the fish as elements of life which we would draw into our consciousness and make a part of ourselves. Lack of willpower is a mental disease –
- Consistently Perform Small Acts of Courage. Set small goals and achieve them every day. Laziness is a form of fear. To overcome laziness, all is required is a gradual practice of contrary action. Take the time in our day normally set aside for unstructured, isolated relaxation and immobility and fill it slowly with activities which will lead towards a more gregarious and fulfilling day; take a walk; walk our dog; walk our neighbor’s dog; go to the park; volunteer for an hour at a charity of our choice; make plans to meet people outside of the house for coffee or tea; take some exercise in the form of a walk or a class; take a hike in the great outdoors. When we set our mind to a positive intent, we are setting the wheels in motion for the universe to respond with encouragement.
- Develop Willpower. Ultimately it is willpower, which we are forging with discipline. It takes willpower to develop discipline and it takes discipline to strengthen the power of will. In the sense of Universal Truth, the human will is immensely strong; with the right purpose, motivation and direction it is unstoppable. Miracles have happened in history, and when viewed more closely, human willpower can be seen as the common element amongst many of them. Dwell on that but not too long – the time to begin reshaping our lives is now. Developing willpower happens one small action at a time. Changing habits is not the easiest thing to do, but the rewards are countless. In demonstrating that we are the masters of our lives we become examples to others. With the foundation of self-control comes an immense freedom, and in that freedom is the space to do and become whatever we want; in effect, to realize our dreams.
- Silence and Vision. Overcome the temptation to be lazy. Create routines of discipline in our life. Make our bed every day. Get up earlier so we can enjoy the day. Participate in selfless acts and do not expect thanks or gratitude; they are acts of selflessness for US, not others. If this seems strange, envision ourselves as somebody saintly such as Ghandi or Mother Teresa while we are doing them. In essence become these people for a moment. Tap into their energy and feel them in our consciousness. Do it without words. Learn not to comment or feel the need to speak. If we practice this for a while, soon it will become second nature. We will know when to speak and when NOT to speak. When the urge takes we to make a quip or comment, suddenly we will feel the brakes on our tongue. People will slowly begin to recognize a new us and most likely take us more seriously. Tibetan monks practice this discipline, speaking only when in response to a direct question. This process helps the individual to think a spontaneous thought all the way through and develop the habit of not wasting breath on the voicing of idle thoughts.
- Fasting. This is a subcategory of developing willpower. It doesn’t have to be enormous fasting, like days or weeks. Intermittent fasting can be eating at 6 P.M. and then not eating again until 11 A.M. the next day. Most of the fasting happens while we are asleep. This brings about shifts in our physical make up that are infinitely beneficial to our health and sanity. Changing our relationship to food is the first step towards changing our relationship towards consumption. Making consumption a conscous process will make our world a better place if enough people do it.