Change is inside
Are you perfectly content in your life? Few of us can say we are perfectly content. There’s always something that we want to change. We want a new job or a new set of friends, we want to travel or go to school. We want to look different. We want to be smaller, larger, richer, smarter, more powerful, independent, younger, freer. We want to make our lives better. We want upheaval. But we don’t. We don't know how to make changes and we feel scared. We're not really quite sure we actually like that word 'radical.'
I want to talk about creating a new belief system. I am talking about a new blueprint for your life. I challenge you to get up and get out of old beliefs that don’t work so well for you. My theory is you can change your life and make it better, have the life you really want, by taking it step by step. Get an idea of where you want to be and then move in that direction slowly, incrementally. After a time you’ll get there. You’ll be surprised. I’ve said it so many times: you don’t need to haul off and move to Bhutan. You just need to get an idea of where you want to be and what you want from your life, and then take some steps to get there. None of us, well, few of us, realize how capable we are, how full of energy, and love, and intent we can be. The thing is to get a plausible, firm, clear idea of what you want your life to be like. That's the hard part, that deciding what you want. And here’s a trick: you want to start from the inside. You don’t need to change your job or your house or family or your car or things like that. These are secondary to what you want to change. You want to change yourself inside. Then the other outward things will change. This is the shorthand of what I experienced when I went off to Bhutan those many years ago. I slogged and stumbled in this amazing place. And what I came to realize is that what changed is how I saw myself inside. My view of myself changed even before I set foot on a plane, and subsequently my view of the world changed.
Honestly, I didn’t have a master plan. I just knew that I was a better person being in Bhutan. I could be nicer and do more good. All of the daily things that tripped me up, my sense of myself as someone who didn’t accomplish much, and my preoccupation with mundane things that didn’t really in the end matter much were gone, poof, just like that. What took their place was a focus on daily things. It was a more purposeful life. I was able to reboot, so to speak. In a very short time. In what seems like an instant, I was able to reassess priorities and get to a level of living that was rather basic compared to how I lived before. This helped me immensely, this peeling away things that didn’t matter so much. (“I need to have that dress and those shoes if I’m going to do that.” “I need to drive that car.” I need you to support my decision.”)
So many of my “needs” were really wants. When it all got stripped away in Bhutan I saw I really didn’t need much. I just wanted things. But with things unavailable, and people unavailable, I realized I could live nicely without much. Wanting went away. I needed food and air and a place to live and a few clothes. So it was transformative. Ironically, this focus on daily things and on simplifying gave me more purpose and a more complex inner life.
You don't have to go anywhere. Get your own Bhutan right where you live. Get to a place in your mind—not in your geography, although geography and place are important—where you can reboot and figure out new priorities. What I realized is that my desire to move to Bhutan had already started this process and while I still living in the U.S. I started shedding stuff and saving money and getting to a mental place where I didn't need much.
|Namgay visits a man with no television.|
Turn off your TV
You don’t have to watch the evening news, and frankly watching the news is something I insist that you quit doing immediately. You won't learn anything. You’ll learn more by teaching yourself to make pot holders or learning to mix concrete. The evening news will not only not tell you anything, it will sap your intelligence and divert you from what you need to do. Do I sound paranoid? Good. And just try to not be informed about the world. You can find out what’s going on in the world when you go to the grocery store. The cover of the National Enquirer will tell you everything you need to know. It's all variations on the same things-- different levels of conflicts and discord and titillation-- it will all just depress you and keep you from your goals and your focus. Don't let yourself be diverted by conflict. You want to think longer term. You want to do things and read things and see things that will elongate your focus and make you think deeper. Read books. Read intelligent articles in intelligent magazines and on the web. So much of media is designed to keep you from your focus and your goals and limit your attention span to about 20 seconds. Try to resist this and increase your attention span. It is diversion and there's too much of it. I have more to say but I'm going to do it in another post because I know this is getting long and I want to keep your attention.
I'm not your guru
I present myself here as someone who is not all that brilliant or good looking or remarkable. I’m an average sort who has been able to organize a remarkable life. And my purpose in telling you this is to encourage you to do something remarkable for yourself. You can. You are most likely more gifted than me, and smarter, and better looking. Depending on your beliefs, you either have one shot to get it right in this life or you have an infinite number of opportunities to get it right and can reincarnate and do it all over again. Either way this is your life now. And at this time in the world, because of geopolitical events, or the carbon dioxide levels, or maybe the stars are aligning a certain way, or the molecular structure of things is straining a certain way, or the poles of the earth are switching their magnetic pull—whatever it is, gravity, karma--everything in the world is telling us things. Mostly what I’m hearing and you will too if you listen to the music of the spheres is this:
It is absolutely time for this.
cut through the clutter
It is absolutely time for this.