“HELLO! Look at me. HELLO! I am so ZEN. This is BLOOD. This is NOTHING. Hello. Everything is nothing, and it’s so cool to be ENLIGHTENED. Like me.”
― Chuck Palahniuk
If I’ve read one post on change, I’ve read a million.
Unfortunately, they all come under the same rubric: change is necessary; and you need to immediately adopt said author’s programme; and you need to get it NOW or your life won’t be worth living.
But, I constantly question (oh…yes…I…do) why, if it’s so *bleep* obvious, don’t we bear witness to change on an epic scale (or any scale)?
Let me make this very clear. Change never happens from the outside-in, i.e. by someone telling you to change; it only ever happens from the inside-out, i.e. by insight (something falls from your head and lays on your heart). I mean you get ‘it’ on a spiritual level. In short, you’re powerfully moved and it sticks, forever.
If you go down a few levels, what this means is that your thinking changes, which translates into new behaviour. That’s not quite true. Your thinking doesn’t change, but, in most cases, you no longer identify with your previous thoughts. (The bit that’s really powerful is to enquire who or what it is that’s able to observe your thoughts?)
At this stage, the change lobby will jump in and ask for the Insight Manual. Strange as it is, and it’s no different to the idea of intrinsic motivation (albeit even that’s not enough to bring about change save on a superficial level), you cannot exhort or template-up an insight programme. At best, all you can do is create the right environment, change the dialogue to inside-out and hope that something manifests on a higher level. Of course, that hardly makes for a marketable programme and that’s probably why you haven’t seen many more people talk about things so fundamentally, but that doesn’t mean that insight-based learning and coaching doesn’t have a place.
The thing is, from the inside-out, and in recognising and understanding the link between thought, feeling and consciousness, everything’s different. And it’s easy to spot: where our attention goes, so our daily activity flows: change the centre of our attention, i.e. our thinking self, and so the output changes. (I like the way Michael Neill talks about the difference between making different cookies or looking to the source, i.e. the oven.)
Where does this leave you…if you’re interested in change? I only ask because, as someone who’s previously lapped up one strategy after another, and who now understands how specious the material was, I wonder if you too have begun to explore the inner terrain as a way of understanding why you can’t bring about change in your life? (Remember the Socrates quote: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”)
If you haven’t looked within then I can guarantee that however many books you read, or videos you watch or talks you hear, they won’t make a scintilla of difference. Yes, you might think your willpower rock hard, but even that fades after time when you realise you’ve slipped back into your old, stale thinking.
As I’ve said already, the only guarantee of change is when you gain the necessary insight. More than that you disidentify from your thoughts, positive or negative, and stay focused on the now, the only moment there is.
I accept this is all a bit Woo-woo, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. Far from it. In fact, if you understand the link between thought and your actions, you’ll immediately see the fallacy in the outside-in movement and why all change starts and ends with self-inquiry.