The New Year is upon us and many are about to begin the process, once again, of venturing into creating a “new me” to go with the New Year. Vows will be made, promises will be forged, and determinations will be encouraged. You may even make a large investment into tools, teachers, programs etc. Also customary is the running joke about how failure kicks in but a few weeks later. There is even a movement to discourage such behavior to not look at this day as special. That self-improvement is something that should be strived for every day, not just at the beginning of the year, a wise adage indeed.
None the less, if you are determined to make this year “your year” here are some things to consider. We are all under the illusion that our problem is the big bad “Discipline”! If only you had more self-discipline to not do this or that and to do that and this, you could accomplish that one goal or aspect of self-improvement thereby making your life that much happier and fulfilled! The question then poses itself, if this is something you want so very badly, why is it so very difficult to achieve? Why do we continue to self-sabotage ourselves into repeated failure?
Let’s begin with self-sabotage. There is Yin and there is Yang, all things have their opposing forces or opposites. You cannot have light without dark, hot without cold; this is a fundamental principle of all things, even in psychology! Just as we have good intentions, we also have a shadow aspect, the darker side of our ego, the shadow self. As is done all too often we focus on an aspect of self we dislike and seek to then improve it, such as wanting to lose weight. We see ourselves as fat, out of shape, and unhealthy. We even chastise the self for being lazy, or use any other number of derogatory statements born of our disgust for the lack of self-discipline! In our angst, anger, and frustration we declare war, or invoke a passionate will to succeed! This time is going to be different! I swear this time I am going to do it! Nothing is going to stop me! There are of course other series of action and attitudes, such as the “positive approach”, to not go on a diet, but rather adopt a healthy lifestyle! Yes! This will be a completely different approach to such an unhealthy lifestyle. Interestingly enough these approaches usually lead to a very self-righteous behavior or outlook. Even if you don’t say it directly, you know you are thinking it. Once you are a few weeks in and feeling good about yourself, you then “feel sorry” for those who don’t do the same. Come on, admit it, you know you do 😉
Then there is the other four letter word…Discipline! Ah that one hurdle that always seems to wrestle you down to the ground and shove that cupcake right into your mouth! You then spend the next few hours convincing yourself that its ok, everyone slips, or even worse, feeling completely defeated and depressed that you fell off the wagon…Better have another cupcake to feel better about yourself!
Why oh why is it so hard to have self-discipline!? Unbreakable will power seems to only truly exist in the mind of the Olympian, or the truly exceptional. Maybe it’s just not in me; it’s the way I was raised, that’s it! It’s my parents fault!
Now for some clarity…
The desire to improve the self is a key component to complete success. The one of many things we must constantly enact in order to grow, evolve, learn, and mature for the better. When you finally decide to begin a project that will somehow make you a better person, do so because of that reason alone. It must by itself stand alone, and not be born of spite. Remember the Yin/Yang? When you despise an aspect of yourself, you then seek to fix it. The problem with this approach is you are creating something born of the negative. Negative plus negative equals negative, this is a formula destine to fail. Even still, when you plan to endeavor an action of self-improvement by itself, not born of the negative, you immediately and subconsciously create its opposing force, the shadow aspect, fear of leaving the comfort zone, the way you know, ect. You simply cannot have one without the other. The law of polarity is absolute!
So then what? Is all lost? Is there no other way? Has the constant war of one vs. the other utterly condemned you to ever battle the dual self? …
In the realm of ego yes, it is an absolute. It is the way of things, resistance is futile and suffering.
But there is another approach, a light at the end of the tunnel. For true willpower, true discipline, is gravely misunderstood. As aforementioned, in the realm of ego it’s a never ending battle of mental alacrity over apathy. In order to escape dualism, you must rise above its dimension. Will power is not a mental capacity, but an element of spirit! Think on this…
We all have heard the story of the individual, who in a great peril, performs feats that should not have been possible? The 110 pound woman who lifts a car to save her child? The person who lasts at sea longer than should be humanly possible without food, or more importantly water!? How is this done, where does that strength come from?
Will power is the astonishing strength and tenacity of the human spirit. That place where miracles are created or enacted. This is not a part of our mind that can be simply called upon like a decision. It’s the part of our literal conscious energy, our eternal energy, our very spirit, call it what you will. It is born and resides within a place where love is absolute, beyond dualism, beyond the realm of opposites, resistance and suffering.
That may seem a bit daunting or even beyond reach. You’re just looking to maybe lose weight or accomplish a goal, not lift a car or survive the ocean! But that is not really the point. Just know that will, not willpower, is a force, not an indulgence of denying oneself. All of which is a deeper subject that cannot be simply explained here. Although, what more simply can be taken from it is this: ‘Will’ is a force accessed through perception and patience. This is where it begins, and that is enough to assist in the second half, true discipline.
True Discipline is not born of the mind either. That or something similar would be more an aspect of mental acuity through practice. True discipline is born out of self-respect and love. When you have a desire or goal in harmony with deep love of self, and self-respect, discipline is enacted almost naturally. Simply spoken, if weight loss is your goal, unequivocal true love and respect for oneself and a desire for a better life is what drives you to do what it is you need to do every day in order to achieve that goal. It’s the principle we see in action from successful people all around us and in the media. When they do what they love, what they feel passionate about; it’s never work or tedious. It’s the love of that thing that drives them to work tirelessly.
So now we bring the two together, the force of will being perception and patience, and the love of the goal. In the example of weight loss, you must first resolve within yourself to find a true love and respect for the self. Meditate on this: When you experience a profound love and appreciation for someone, does it not bring you great joy to do things for them? Are you there for them whenever they need you no matter what? Do you think the world of them, and making them happy gives you great satisfaction? Reflect on this even further. Why would you go to such lengths, despite the fact that you love them deeply, but not for yourself? As that which you see in others you either despise or desire lives within you. We are all connected, and that drive to do for others you love is born of the same desire to love oneself! Lastly, if you have no love for yourself, how can you then love someone else? You cannot give what you do not have. You have to ask yourself, are you doing these things as a means of subconsciously trying to love yourself, or does it come from an established love of self that allows you to give it to others?
These may seem like considerations that involve a lifetime to resolve, as who isn’t on the journey to “love oneself”. But we all tend to overly complicate it. Remember, the will is accessed through perception and patience. Love is in the small acts that add up, in the details. Every small step takes us that much closer to the goal. Bare in mind, it’s ultimately the journey that cultivates. Couple this with how you “Choose” to perceive, as every thought we have is a choice! Random thoughts are born of chaos and the duhhka of mind, they should be simply disregarded like an annoying fly, give it no mind! Have your back, be there for yourself and find great pleasure in doing the little consistent and persistent acts for yourself that eventually add up. Appreciate yourself, care for yourself, do what you do because you deserve to be treated better than well. Learn to have a love affair with who you really are. Not what your mind has been telling you! Who you are is no more than an illusion to be dispelled through conscious awareness! Through conscious awareness you will perceive the truth of self that is infinite and eternal, undefinable and ever expansive creative beauty that is beyond exemplification. You are infinite and eternal it could be no other way!
So in this time of the New Year, endeavor to first clean the slate. The past cannot be changed, altered, or repaired, take each moment as a new and ever present possibility. Choose to see it from a positive place of love and appreciation. Choose to focus enjoyably inward. From this place take small steps in the direction you so choose. With proper perception and diligent patience, coupled with a new found love and appreciation for truest self, venture to justly enjoy and delight in your evolution and growth!