How to Become Who You Want to Be (last and part seven)

There are methods to help us make important perceptual changes so that we can achieve our natural potential without unwanted influences harming or impeding our progress. Even those who are clear already, without harmful obstacles, still need to make effort to understand the changes they are already experiencing.

· One valuable perception we can cultivate right now is giving ourselves permission to change.
A friend said recently they felt doomed to failure because their lack of confidence is combined with not feeling as if they deserved the positive changes. Perhaps someone suffering from confidence paralysis could jump away from that position by using positive affirmations that have worked for others such as: "I am good enough to be the best me possible, in fact, I was born to be me! I hereby give myself authorization to change.”

“Change is happening already. I know that because I have changed my mind a dozen times just today! By giving myself formal permission to change, I am allowing a healthy new kind of pressure on beneficial changes, rather than just allowing ordinary change to take place."

This is not like hippy philosophy, "You have got to just go with the flow, man." We are not going to go with the flow, man. We make effort so that the changes are the ones we want.

· Make space and time for preparation of the arrival of the new you.
For example, set up a meditation place. Even if you do not have a meditation practice yet, just for auspiciousness, set up a sacred space. Get a special bookshelf for only Buddhist books or ones related to your special goal. Set aside minutes at a regular time to quietly discover by contemplation, finding and disinviting poor influences.

· Keep a journal of ideas and plans you are working on, as well as recording successes and failures to remind yourself of inner work and what you need to change to realize your goal.

· Attend teachings and retreats in person.
It is useful to understand spiritual goals and how to get there by the powerful examples and inspiration that still exist in this world. If you do not receive teachings, do not have time or make effort to go to retreat, then it is not so easy to create the supportive environment where changes can take place.

· Spend time thinking about the process you need to be immersed in right now and what you personally need to work on.
For example, reducing anger or connecting the reality of the goal to the reality of your life creates new cues and clues that will remind you of new strategies from daily activities.

· Develop a desire based in throwing off inner and outer harmful influences so that you honestly and whole-heartedly want to work on habits that have been holding you imprisoned.

For example, a lack of self-respect or a lack of completing what you have promised to do is debilitating. Many suffer from the effects of bad habits preventing them from following through, even small things. What to say of big things like becoming the one they want to be? If I are supposed to meet someone at such-and-such a time or promised to do a Dharma activity by preparing a paper or making a few phone calls for a Dharma event, and do not do it, what to say about my enlightenment potential?

Perhaps you hold the poor habit that, in return, has been holding you imprisoned identified as a lack of value placed on the goal of enlightenment by comparison to values placed on money making or social status. Some believe that those goals have higher value than the freedom of the awakened state of enlightenment. This lack of understanding can hold them imprisoned no different from the life of an ox. The farmer puts a ring in its nose, ties it to a post, and uses it by making it walk in a circle around the post, threshing grains from chaff as it is still done in some third world countries. Marching around and around in a circle, the ox does not receive benefit or go anywhere in its long walk. There is something more valuable than just moneymaking and social status and that is higher development.

· Perhaps what has been holding you prisoner is a belief that it might take more time and effort than you are willing to give.

You should make a promise to yourself to break this stalemate of not being able to do something. That is daily Buddhist refuge, the promise you make to yourself to attain the goal of full enlightenment.

· Visit regularly with someone you get along with who encourages your practice.

· Rejoice that you are in the process of becoming the new you by your own efforts and determination.
No one is trying to control you, now that you are feeling more successful. By your own efforts and determination, you will change. Do not give up! Do not give up just because old dynamics, harsh habits, or defective criteria, are still somewhat alive in you. If you falter by beginning meditation practice, and one day realize that you have not meditated in four days, do not beat yourself up. Just begin again fresh! Do not worry! Just begin again.

· Overcome irrational fear.
Courageously seek in your own mind any crossed wires that inappropriately link concepts; for example, status and spirituality. Confusion of conflicting goals need to be destroyed because they cause fear inside that does not seem to have a reasonable basis.

· Watch out for signs of Santa Claus thinking.
This deep-rooted influence is inside many fine people, who on one level are certain that an implanted belief does not exist, and yet spontaneously pray to it to give them something they want without making effort. They do this because they want the goodies under the tree, and still have a certainty that it is Santa Claus who brings them all that they desire. This fantasy is often inscribed in the excited and happy mind at a young age.

Santa Claus is coming….oooooooh! Kids are excited to hear about Santa Claus and want to believe so much in the magic of receiving anything they desire with no effort. Something happens in the way memories are shaped into beliefs causes this to go deep inside, and for many adults, becomes an important dynamic in how they interact with the world. This is why some people find it difficult to be grounded. Perhaps you do not understand friends who are like this, because how they act does not seem to relate with the reality of the situation and they often find life difficult because they do not get what they feel they deserve. Just because they know something is wrong, does not exist, still they make poor choices because there is something they desire, and are innately sure their faith is going to give it to them. This is faith built upon craving and inappropriate desire, not the faith of refuge with higher motivation. This relates to important judgments some people make that carry through to how they approach spiritual life as well.

The high energy of, as an example, finding Santa Claus as a child could have imprinted the inner mind with an error that is now applied to many different areas of life. This is important and deep inner work: the uprooting of errors. Defective dynamics make us sick and cause us to remain in the ordinary state. Healthy elements that could recreate us as an enlightened being might already exist in us in a natural way, but are covered by adventitious errors caused by wrong influences as described earlier in this series of articles.

In this way, unhappily, we might develop strategies in spiritual search interfering with what we need to do to effect necessary changes. Many spiritual search patterns, I believe, enhance “Santa Claus thinking” and do not leave room for the actual work; the clarification and purification of perceptions. Now the goodies are the spiritual experiences or craving “feel-good feelings.” These are the goodies under the tree we want to find there with no effort on our part. This is the Santa Claus that does not exist; we must make effort to change!

· Lastly, begin to act like the new you, and abandon old, defective dynamics.
For example, tell others that you are a meditator, do not hide. More importantly, rejoice that you are doing your part to make it happen. Your experiences on the path of perfection will be a delight and effortless as you remember that the goal is valuable; not only valuable, but it is only gained step by step. This makes your current efforts a treasure, isn't that so? It is so easy to change, so easy to change. It is actually very natural. The End


  1. I'm really happy about this article. It's so true ! it's so obvious in this reality of our daily life ! and I understand that because I'm myself in a process of positive changes !
    Thank you Rinpoche !


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