We live in the most change-obsessed culture in history. We change our clothes, our hair, our body structure – and sometimes even our noses. We want to change our attitudes, our brains, our marriages – and sometimes even our chakras. We applaud those who take on herculean challenges to shed weight or gain muscle. And we proudly run ourselves on a treadmill of self-improvement every day.
But these days, I am taking a step back. And I am sitting down. Because I am seeing that constant striving to achieve that external image of perfection is bondage. And that everything I want to change about my life makes me a victim of something or someone outside. It’s shockingly big when you see that this applies to spirituality as much as consumerism.
I am learning this from my three-year-old son. Last week, he told his healer mother who was trying to help him recover from a throat infection: “Mama, I don’t want healing now!” It was such an unexpected sentence – I would never say ‘no’ to spiritual support. But he seems to see his life differently. He cannot be controlled even by spirituality because he doesn’t yet have the desire to be more peaceful than he is.
As grown ups, we think differently. We have complex strategies to be more peaceful and happy. We are hooked onto whatever promises salvation. To whoever says our life can be ‘fixed’ for a fee – from affirmation teachers to cosmetic surgeons, from financial advisors to gym instructors, from fashion designers to feng shui experts. In fact, all advertising is based on convincing us why we need to change and showing us the way.
Yes, the rings are all out there; but the hooks are in me. And the hook underlying them all is the belief that I am fundamentally wrong as I am.
What if I could take a deep breath and let go of wanting to change who I am for a while? Not wanting to permanently get rid of sadness and suffering. Not wanting to banish the trembling of anger and fear. Not wanting to perfect the ‘imperfect’ body and silence the mind. Not even wanting to conquer sexuality and unenlightenment. What if I could be fundamentally okay just for this moment?
I would probably be a lot like my 3-year-old. Not always laughing, but not scared of tears either. I would be powerful, not because I created strength, but because I was not ashamed of my weakness. And I would be very silent inside – because the mind would have so much less to do.