How can we prevent changing? Change will happen whether we are prepared for it or not. What we do in deliberate inner spiritual work is push for positive, beneficial change that will effortlessly recreate us into the one that we always knew that we could be! Therefore, deliberate change is what we seek, within parameters of cultivated new and healthy influences, rather than going with the flow of our presently held influences, most of which we might unhappily discover, are not of our own choosing. Without making effort, we could be leading a life that is based on factors that are not who we are, not of our own decisions, and often, not very happy because we really wanted to be doing something else with our life!
As we continue thinking about this extremely important subject of influences, we will discover inner and outer obstacles one after the other. Another obstacle preventing you from being who want to be might wish to be is poor health. Actually, this is a very Tibetan answer, because many Tibetans wanting to become a meditator or accomplish something important, cannot because poor health prevents it. In Tibet, a very poor country, we did not have a good health care system and because of some physical defect or illness, many had minds more strong than the body they needed for yogic spiritual activity. They needed to remain under the care of family and in that way, their own wishes were never realized. In the West, and of course, world wide, this same issue is still an obstacle for many, one that can arrive suddenly as impairment due to accident or age onset genetic weakness.
My last answer here in the series of articles on influences that keeps you caged within unwanted strictures is your current responsibilities. The amount of time that you perceive it will take to realize your potential interferes with your responsibilities that you have already promised to do, isn’t that true? This is an important part of being too busy to make deliberate changes, but some people can be too busy even without having responsibilities by keeping up with a trivial lifestyle. So far, our responsibilities have not yet included becoming that one that we want to become! We might even see becoming that one and our responsibilities as two different things, when it should have been only one thing; realizing our innate potential, isn't that so?
So, after delving into ordinary dynamics and uncovering how we build our lives upon many almost mechanical or emotional influences, let us explore another aspect. By what criteria did you decide who you wanted to become or realize in spiritual goals? Now that we move into a discussion of spiritual, since you are still you, we might discover some criteria either infecting or inspiring you.
A high regard of qualities of spiritual beings such as Jesus, Buddha, Mother Theresa, or one's teacher and want to emulate them are strong or perhaps the strongest influences in spiritual seeking. Admiring the qualities of a holy being and wanting to be like them should almost be the exclusive criterion influencing who you want to be spiritually, but it is not because of negative conditioning. From a higher point of view, the presence of enlightened beings in this world is meant to attract us like metal filings to a magnet, directing our inner gaze to transformation.
From our active inner life and how we individually relate to our personal world can be with either positive or negative feelings. Beyond that, we have reactions to that interaction with our world that creates a further perceptual influence. For example if we feel deep inside that there is more to life than what we are currently experiencing, this influences our life decisions strongly. This could be filled with sadness, depression, anger, or even a feeling of being cheated in our life process. Perhaps we intuitively know there is more, and all we received instead was a position in life filled with dragon poop when we could have been sitting in the penthouse of an incredible castle! We do not like it, possibly are angry, and feel this is unfair and definitely not right! There is more to life than what I am experiencing!
Coming from an inner place makes it almost spiritual rather than everyday inner criterion. You have a sense of justice and a human rights demand because you come from a country where choices are a hallmark of a free society, and now you do not get to have them. This does not seem right! It becomes a spiritual stubbornness. It is not right that I am experiencing a contracted life when I want to be like that! However, if we do not become dysfunctional, it could get your supercharged engine going, acting as a criterion for you to do something about it!
On the other hand, an improper view could damage the value of a nice inner spiritual crisis. Some react to inner unhappiness by wishing to control others; imposing a spiritual authority over other and making up rules based on control in the name of religion that has nothing to do with inner development. For example, Allah says you cannot shave your face. Well, we do not know that because we cannot talk to Allah, but somebody who said that they talked to Allah said that that is what we can or cannot do. Some make up rules because they want to control others. For example, women must always be hidden and covered. In certain societies, we would not have choices regarding this; these are mandated spiritual rules.
People with a personal spiritual life based upon a need to control others by revealing god given invisible rules might not make sense to you or me but must be followed! We are forced to either cut or not cut our beards, covering our faces or go completely naked, such as some African peoples, in order to please god or the gods. Some say it is terrible if you put clothes on! Some people say you cannot take your clothes off or violate gods blessings. Some people say you must put your clothes on, and others say you must be naked. This one has to wear a hat or god will curse you, and that one cannot wear a hat (for the same reason). What is the purpose? This is only trying to control others.
However, skillful influences of careful religious practices are both created and felt as a sacred influence without fear mongering. Good practice is not meant to weaken others by exerting or forcing control, and that is a distinguishing factor. When it creates fear or even become a cause to be put to death in some societies, it moves into what should be illegal, even if done in the name of religion!
Another example of religious dogma would be a belief that a husband was meant to take the only control in the family. It is only logical to see that control can be abused because God meant the husband to have power over the wife. Beyond social systems or what might or might not be criminal, these are personal, inner devised, dogmatic permissions using spiritual influences wishing to control others. Some aspire to be the one to tell others what they can and cannot do, based upon something that others cannot see and that only “they” can see. Wanting to control others is the issue here. We must be very, very clean and honest with ourselves about this. To be continued…..