Ah, New Year’s Resolutions!
As we turn the corner into the New Year and the days begin to become longer (even if we don’t quite notice yet!), NOW is the fertile time to initiate profound change. Before we dive in, though, it is important for us to take the time to distinguish between reflexive and conscious change.
Reflexive change isn’t really change at all. These are the intentions that we habitually set – and break – every year (eat less ice cream, be nicer, get up early, lose five pounds….insert your favorite chestnut here). Usually these are symptoms of some deeper disconnection with ourselves. The eating ice cream or staying in bed late may be because we’re not properly taking care of ourselves or we are hiding a deeper dissatisfaction under a distraction. Reflexive intentions feel good, but they often falter after just a few weeks. Usually they’re ego driven, rather than heart driven. If this sounds familiar, give yourself a pat on the back. Congratulations, you’re human! You are in stellar company.
In conscious change, we go beneath those initial voices. Beneath the ego and the blaming (or just as enticing, the validation) and instead ask ourselves, “what change would really serve my life’s purpose?”
Take a moment and let this sink in.
Maybe you don’t quite know what your life’s purpose (dharma) is yet. If so, again, no worries. As Aadil Palkhivala writes in Fire of Love, “exploring your dharma is your dharma.” Take a few moments every day to sit and ask the question, “What is my life’s purpose? And what change would really serve my life’s purpose?”
Wait for the answer to arise. Not from your head, but from your heart. Have the courage to listen to the quiet voice. You’ll know it when you hear it.