In the search for success, love or spiritual growth, everyone wants some new and exciting ‘tools’ or ‘method’, the magic pill.
The problem is that success is not made in magic pill form, it comes from long hard work, and people are not interested in that. What constitutes ‘hard work’ is not necessarily physical labour, it is even harder to see your self and conquer your bad habits and weaknesses.
Humans by nature are lazy, not only in a bad way, but as well, perhaps the original point of it, in a good way. Laziness is fueled by a desire for efficiency. I worked very hard when I was young because I am very lazy. It is more efficient to compress a lifetime of allotted hours of work into a few years and then have many more years to do whatever you want later in life. Unfortunately, most people do not realize this and will not put in the necessary effort to get the freedom they desire. It is far easier to take a weekend workshop that falsely guarantees enlightenment than to accept the Zen proposal of 10 or 20 years to find out if that is the right path for you.
The problem with chasing the new and exciting is best displayed in this little Sufi story.
There was a great teacher in Turkey, said to have great wisdom. He only had five devoted disciples. For many years, his disciples asked him why, with all his great wisdom, he did not have thousands of students. In the Sufi tradition, if the teacher feels the student would not understand the explanation, he just does not answer. And so time went on until one day the Teacher and his disciples where walking in the grand bazaar in Istanbul amongst the usual large crowd of other shoppers. As they were in the open area, a pigeon fell from the sky and landed dead at the teachers feet. He picked it up and said a little prayer, and the pigeon came back to life.
This miracle was witnessed by many people in the crowd and very quickly, this teacher had thousands of people coming to his talks. He became quite famous as the man who can bring a pigeon back to life. One day he was giving a talk to a large crowd, and expelled a very loud fart. The people were so shocked that such a great man could do such a rude thing, that soon enough he was left again with only his original five. The six men sat together and the master explained to the confused disciples as to why the many people came and then left. He said; “Those who come for the life of a pigeon, will leave for a fart.”
It is common for people to want speed and ease more than quality. I am not saying that all groups offer good quality, in fact I would think that is quite rare, but the point is that people are always on the lookout for something new and exciting. We can see the proof of that in product marketing. There are so many old established products that change the packaging or or label saying ‘New and Improved’. There is nothing different other than the packaging. Considering the cost to design and then change the production line to accommodate the new packaging, this indicates there is more value in appearing new than the cost of staying with an established item.
Humans are fickle and always looking for new and more, never satisfied with what they have, even if it works fine, be it people, jobs or products. Because of this nature, in the realm of material success, personal growth or developing a skill, constant change of direction deteriorates the momentum vital to propelling you above the average. That change can be the path you follow or it can be in the daily routine, breaking up your day with little distractions rather than spending enough time on each task to get it completed so you can more forward. Have you ever experienced at the end of a day wondering where the day went, that you have not accomplished anything, yet have been very busy?
So many people want to change the world, to be a luminary or teacher or leave their mark to be remembered by, but they are not doing much to change themselves. They may think they are by constantly going to more workshops and learning more skills, but when is it time to stop learning and start doing? All this chasing may appear to be forward movement, but do the results show progress or stagnation?
People do not like change, even if they know it will be for the better. Sometimes what needs to change is the habit of constantly changing. What we should change is not what we are doing but the habits that make us do them. This is the very important key which resolves a clear contradiction in what I say here to what I believe, that change is vital to staying young and keeping your mind sharp. I believe in continuous change and yet I say that we should stick to the same things.
In fact I have not contradicted myself, but am speaking about two independent parts of our being. One is outer, and the other is inner. Change your habits by sticking to something long enough that you can reveal your true habits and nature so you can refine yourself, then you can consider changing or sticking to your outward actions and path.
A wise old man, Ibrahim, said something very beautiful about love. He told me, “When you find a woman you love, do not love her for how she looks, the way she moves, the things she does. Rather, love her for that which is within her that makes her be that way.”
Ibrahim was referring to the essential personality, or you could say the soul. The name you give it does not matter as much as understanding that there is something deeper in us than our personality, and that is what needs to be changed if we desire to change our life. Somewhere between the outer actions which exhibit our personality and the deepest level of our Being, there is another part which is called the lesser ego or Nafs. There are in fact many other parts in-between our outer personality and our deepest soul, but let us just work with these for today’s discussion.
The part of who you are that makes you beautiful and allows your wonderful qualities to shine forth is the soul. The lesser ego has its habits, and those show through as well. Both effect your outer personality, who you are and how you behave. Find the lesser ego with its bad habits and lazy, short lived attention span by sticking to your decisions and tasks at hand, and take back control of your life from it. Choose to live a different way, more from a deeper level of wisdom that you know is true, to be devoted to a life free of habits that control you and waste your life by chasing the easy way out which you know does not exist.
Just in case you do believe the snake oil salesmen selling instant weekend enlightenment or the secrets to getting rich in 5 easy steps, consider one thing. For the number of people who take the courses or buy the books, shouldn’t there be more rich people out there? And why have those things not worked? There is only one possible conclusion, they are not real.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse for the law. You may have heard someone giving you a ticket saying that before. If that holds for the laws of man, why would that not hold even more true for the laws of the universe. There are no shyster lawyers to get you off from universal or natural laws so the only way to be free is to know the laws and follow them.
In the case of income tax law, following the law can work to your advantage as it did for the young fellow who sold his company for $700 million and did not pay any tax because his accountant knew the law and used it to his advantage. Likewise, natural laws work in accordance with nature. The law of nature is to progress. The planet never reverses its direction of orbit or rotation, that would be against nature. Learn the laws of nature and follow them, and you will find success is near at hand.
One of the laws is the Law of Cause and Effect. Every action will cause another action, either returning on the cause or creating a new cause and chain of events. Think carefully before taking action to consider the possible effects and your decisions and actions will yield much better results.
Exploring all the laws is a long discussion and so if you are interested, you can email me and we can discuss it, or you can post your questions on my forum for an open discussion.
I will offer you another law now, the Law of Indecision (I chose this title from my own observations). This law exhibits your true desire being different than what you think you want. If you think you want something, but the subconscious wants something opposing, you will not be able make up your mind about what you want. Because you think you want something that is not what you really want. You will become torn with indecision, and in extreme cases of confusion, almost mentally paralyzed, stuck right where you are while the train of life passes you by.
This law is conquered by the law of Self Truth (another name that I have chosen to identify and discuss this principle). This law simply states that if you find Truth, you will have no conflicts or problems. That is logical enough and explains where conflicts come from and how to avoid them, either with another person or with yourself. At times there is no way to get to the truth, and so we are stuck in conflict or confusion. The work is in finding the truth at all times and when you are stuck in inner conflict, accept that the truth is unknown and so you can stop trying to convince yourself that you really want to do that thing that you keep finding excuses to avoid.
When you view conflict as an indicator that the truth is unknown, and that there is no real conflict but rather that there is simply a lack of knowledge, you switch from being in conflict to a seeker of truth.
If you really wanted to do it, you would, and if you don’t work towards it, then the truth is you don’t really want it. Follow the Law of Self Truth and your life will move smoothly and quickly forward. The first Universal Truth is, there is no magic pill.