Is change without effort possible? Of course not, but then why do we believe that it is.
Recently, my goal has been to change the way I do my yoga practice in the morning. Normally, what I do is I do a half-assed job of practicing. I am standing there, in a yoga pose, in an asana, and completely not focused on what I am doing. My body is in the pose, in the asana, in the correct posture. But my mind is far far away, in a land not even in the same dimension.
That’s really the worst way to do a yoga pose, because there’s really no awareness or attention there, and it would be the same as not even doing the pose at all. All of the benefits of the pose are negated, because I am spending all of my time thinking about the recent thing that happened to me, negative and terrible thing, I should add, and how I am going to bash that negative thing to the ground, by saying this or doing that.
After an hour and half of this, I haven’t rejuvenated myself at all.
I have been in fight or flight mode in my head the whole time. And sometimes, at the end of it, I’m even more upset than I was at the start of it. I go into breakfast, as if in battle mode, as if I’m ready to kill someone.
I Want To Change Without Effort, Please And Thank You!
The most effective way to change this would be, if whenever I was doing the yoga practice, I tried really hard to pull my mind back to the present moment. And I would do this, ideally, over and over and over again, a hundred times over, until the grooves of negative thinking in my brain have been filled over, and I have formed new patterns of non-thinking, non-distracted focused thinking while practice. Which hopefully would spill over into the rest of my life.
That’s the most effective way to do it.
Ah, but I’m a human. An imperfect one at that. So, I don’t do it in a perfect fashion. I do it in the worst way possible. Actually I’m in a mode of non-doing. Because I’m not doing anything at all. I stand there in my yoga practice, and I don’t pull my mind way. AT ALL.
Urgh. Whenever the opportunity comes to stay focused and still, and not be distracted by negative thoughts, I don’t take the opportunity. In fact, I kick the opportunity away with my booted foot, and I smirk as I immerse myself into the juicy negative thought, with delight and excitement. Ah, how fun it is to indulge in negative thinking.
I’m not changing. Blasted me, I’m not even trying. I’m not even putting in any effort. Then I wonder why I’m not changing.
This Happens Over And Over Again, Until One Day I Wonder Why I’m Still The Same Person As BEFORE
My sister asked me why I had changed so much over the past few weeks, or months. Ever since I came back to Canada, I’ve been in a mode of rapid and utterly quick change. Whenever I noticed something not so great about myself, which happened quite often, I spent some time observing how that bad habit made the rest of my life a complete miserable sham.
In general, bad habits are terrible for us, not only because they make us look like an utter fool in front of others and ourselves, but also, because they create extremely inefficient situations in our life.
For example, if you procrastinate on projects, it creates a negative situation not only for those people who are waiting on that project from you, but also for yourself, because instead of getting stuff done on time and resting or relaxing or chilling, you are spending all of your free time, catching up on projects you procrastinated on earlier on. You are never able to relax completely, because your mind is always in a mode of sadness and despair at all of the work that you still to catch up on. Doh!
Once I started observing how dangerous a negative habit can be on my view of myself, as well as the others view of me, I realized that the impetus or excitement to change that habit has increased ten-fold.
I Don’t Want To Be The Same Person Complaining About The Same Traits At 67 As At 37
I’m 37 now, and I had this thought recently that I don’t want to be complaining about and dealing with the same negative traits at 67, 30 years later, as I am right now.
Everyone imagines that as they get older they will keep on getting better and better, but that doesn’t happen miraculously or randomly. It takes some arduous effort on your part. Change without effort has to be the biggest myth out there.
A lot of times, I would notice some negative trait in me, and then believed that just the act of being aware of the negative trait would transform it. But that didn’t work that way at all. In fact, the more attention I paid to a negative trait, the more it grew in my estimation. Maybe it’s not that bad that I’m a procrastinator. Maybe it actually helps me become a more productive person, I would finally manage to convince myself. Yeah, right!
Whenever you notice a negative trait in you, first of all observe as I said, how it affects your entire life and your relationships in a derogatory fashion. That in itself will propel you to do something about it.
But if that alone doesn’t help you change, then you can go further by changing something in your daily actions, to move towards as close to perfection as possible.
Moving Towards Perfection Slowly
In my yoga practice, even if I have a few moments, a few milliseconds where I am actually completely aware of the asana, where my attention doesn’t flicker to negative thoughts, where I am able to maintain focus and concentration, then that means that I’ve slowly succeeded in improving myself. Just a few milliseconds is already a far better prospect than where I was before.
Where will you go from here? What habit will you look at? Which habit will you flicker from negative to slightly less negative? Step by step, we’ll all get there. And maybe one day, my entire hour and a half practice will be filled with concentration and awareness. But I wouldn’t be too hopeful about that, just yet.
Change without effort – how elusive you are.