22 July 2012

Independent of Mind

Motivating a change in someone is seemingly impossible. There is a nature to cling to whatever we have been doing regardless of the consequences. Why do criminals continue to do the very same thing over and over again even when they know it will only lead to the same conclusion? Why do some people fall in and out of relationships with people when they know that they have not yet had enough time with the person to know if he or she is worth committing anything more than the time it takes to walk away to? It is possible to build new good habits, to strengthen the default nature of your actions, but it requires work. The work is a work of the mind, a discipline to reach for a way that is foreign and unnatural, that seems wrong but is right beyond the appearance of the surface.

But it seems that very few people have the internal strength, the fortitude of mind to control their thoughts long enough to establish new habits. It seems that most people are crazy, their minds leap to and from thought and action without the conscience guidance of present thought. They very truly claim freedom and independence—independence from control—and so operate autonomously both of the input of others and also themselves. Everyone does this from time to time on certain things. I catch myself doing things that a moment after doing them reveals that it was just a ridiculous habit.

We often look at people who are OCD with a downward glance because they are compelled to do things irrationally because of a habit of mind. Yet, people who habitually gripe, complain, and condemn people in a busy-body gossip-behind-their-back sort of way are viewed as empathetic friends often enough. People who routinely lie, curse, are lazy, spend all day watching TV, thinking about themselves, and on and on the list goes—those people are just normal functioning people. But, if we clear our eyes of the socio-cultural bias that gums them up, it’s clear that there is really something terribly wrong.

And people know better. People know that there is a divide between where they are and where they ought to be. Being one way through ignorance and by being misled is one thing that is sorrowful enough, but when people are made aware of the fact that they are a way that they should not be and have the ability to change if that is what they truly want to do and choose not to, that is a tragedy. That is giving up on life and the possibilities that life has for every single person if they dare to be who they are supposed to be rather than who they find themselves to be.

If I found out that I was addicted to TV and it was eating up my life hour by hour, it would certainly be a little distressing, but not shameful. Blindly falling into a pit is not noble of course, but compared to finding oneself in a pit and choosing not to take the effort to climb out—that is shameful.  

More than likely, reading this will not cause you to take one single step to address your habitual errors. More than likely, life has already beat you. Not your life, that will never beat you, but the life that you have been taught. That life has probably already won. Most people don’t have the energy or passion to take charge of life. It’s easier but less rewarding to pull up a lawn-chair and watch as lies live, at least for most people.
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to make the effort to change. I’m willing to take control of my life, and to take responsibility for life. Maybe you are OK with putting a mediocre effort into life, only partly in-charge. Not me. For me, I have a purpose in life. My life has a meaning and when I see that I am not accomplishing that meaning, it angers me and distresses me and I will fight until death. My life is worth the effort to live it. I hope your life is too—I know it is. Everyone has a purpose even if they don’t care to live it. If you try to get me to do the things that you are doing, and to think like you, I will walk away from you with a sadness that you are unwilling to live in your worth.

Even if you are motivated to take action now, in an hour, a day, a week, even a month, you will probably surrender to the pressures of ease and slip back under the warm familiar covers of an error habit. I hope it’s comforting for you. I don’t feel sorrow for you though, and don’t expect me to. You are responsible. Your life is for the most part the sum of your decision—and you are responsible for those. 


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