From My Bookshelf — Day 61
You begin to change your world the moment you realize it is not true, it is only a story.
When you were born, you believed what you were taught without question. You accepted the identity and the roles that your parents gave you—this is your name, this is your home, and this is what we believe about life, and God, and more. They told you who you are, and before long, you were answering to the name they gave you, and by believing them you became like them. That isn’t good or bad, it is simply the way it is. When you become aware, you realize that they don’t know who you are, because they don’t know who they are. Nobody does.
But when you let go of all those things you think you know about yourself, of all your images, you find freedom.
One of the most important things I do is try and help people change their point of view.
Many people try to change the world by changing the secondary characters in their story. They try to control everybody around them. How do they do that? It’s easy to understand. They love with conditions. Which means, “I love you if you let me control you. If you do what I want you to do, we can be so happy.” We learn to love everybody with conditions, because everybody loves us with conditions.
The problem is that we can’t change the secondary characters; we can only change the world by changing the main character of our story—ourselves. The biggest way you can change yourself is by learning to love yourself unconditionally.
So, to be clear, you can help me to change the world by changing your own world, through unconditional love for yourself. And when you do, it’s like magic, because everyone around you will also change.
When you appreciate everything that you see and interact with, your whole world changes. Everything you perceive is beautiful; you understand that it is all a work of art.
You become your authentic self by letting go of who you think you should be.
The first key to creating heaven on earth is to accept yourself just the way you are right now. Recognize that you are perfect just the way you are, and really believe that you are perfect just the way you are. This is the very first step, and it is not easy.
Whatever assumption you make about anything, and I mean anything, is really just a projection of whatever is happening in your own mind. That’s all. Look at your beliefs, are they true? How can you know that everything you have learned in your life is true? You can’t, you’re just making an assumption that it is true. Is that a chair you’re sitting in? Are you sure? When you drop all your assumptions and admit that you don’t know, a whole new world opens up to you.
Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. — Don Miguel Ruiz’s Little Book of Wisdom (pp. 11-28)
What you just read were glimpses into a book jam-packed with loads of great lessons.
When I read a book like this, I begin to see just how easy life truly could be if I could only let go of my previous conditioning. Oh sure, I see brief moments of clarity and perfection from time to time, but then I seem to allow my own personal demons to take over and run the show the rest of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I am better now than I used to be; but, I long to have peace, contentment, perfection, and beauty in my life on a daily basis instead of only for fleeting moments.
For years I walked around with this nagging feeling that I was wasting my life and there really was no point. I found joy in spending genuine time with my children and witnessing rare events that spoke to my soul, however. But no matter what, I seemed to teeter between feeling like life was pointless one minute and then life was breathtaking the next minute.
This is what I discovered: when I was learning and growing—fully immersed in my gifts and talents—life was breathtaking and purposeful. On the contrary, when I was simply surviving to pay my bills with no real purpose to guide my days, those were the days or months when life felt pointless. Everything I was doing was for material gain and my soul was shoved to the back burner. The longer I went in survival mode, the worse my depression blanketed everything I did. I was unable to find joy with friends and family and the meaning of life felt like it was missing in action.
That’s when I decided it was time to start questioning everything I knew. “But when you let go of all those things you think you know about yourself, of all your images, you find freedom.” That was when I started on what I call the journey of my heart. I no longer wanted to live the way I had been living for so long. I wanted something more—much, much more. The more I chased after what made my heart come alive, and practiced my gifts and talents, the easier it was for me to see joy and beauty in every situation I found myself in. Even a mundane task like waiting in line for something, I was able to see joy and beauty all around me.
Yesterday, in the current issue of Parabola, I read a quote that hit home to me by G.I. Gurdjieff: “You must have an aim, a serious aim. And you must establish a relationship between your task and your aim, an aim you cannot forget. Your task concerns your aim and brings you to your aim.” This quote reminded me exactly of how I have been applying myself to learning and growing in the field of psychotherapy. Having an aim for my life has created way more meaning than I thought possible. Having an aim gives purpose and it makes the menial tasks feel like an integral part of the whole endeavor.
Jordan B. Peterson talks about this in his lectures, books, and videos quite a bit: “It’s certainly one of the most profound ideas I have ever encountered. And the idea is this: if you can figure your life so that what you are genuinely doing is aiming at the highest possible good, then the things that you need to survive and to thrive on a day-to-day basis will deliver themselves to you.”
When I think about the process of going to counseling, this quote struck a chord with me, “One of the most important things I do is try and help people change their point of view.” Much of the suffering we do as humans is based on our perceptions—how we look at things. Something I learned is if we change the way we look at things, the thing we look at changes. Our point of view truly does make all the difference in the world.
Have a blessed day.
Peace and Love,