Changing Our Angle of Vision to Bring About Transformation Part 1
We all have so many details of our lives, unique to us, yet very similar to every human being in our basic needs for survival. Most of who are reading this blog have some discretionary time on our hands, and don’t have to struggle just to stay alive, to eat, sleep or find shelter, etc. Our struggles are often more to find happiness and fulfillment.
As I speak here in general, I hope you will reflect on your personal life and areas that need improvement and change. I speak to you from the insights I have gained from my personal growth work in dealing with my relationship issues, while I also was traveling on my spiritual journey. In my experience, personal and spiritual growth, are really parts of the same system, being indispensable. Personal growth means being a better person, more balanced, in touch, kind and compassionate,etc., where spiritual growth means increasing our spiritual inclination, faith, knowledge of, and love for Krishna and his devotees. Personal growth will also come from our spiritual practices. However, we can become stagnated in our spiritual life in spite of following the basic rules, and need help uncovering blocks in our personal life which impact our spiritual practices. In addition to the inner work I have done and my spiritual perspective, I also hear my wife’s thoughts about dealing with devotee clients, and I work with her in couple’s counseling. From all these means, I am aware of people’s typical struggles to find happiness and minimize distress.
In any given situation, much of our experience of joy or contentment comes from our primary attitude about life, how we interpret what this means, and whether we label it good, bad, or in-between. This attitude is our lens through we which we filter or interpret our job, surroundings, family, friends, or co-workers. In general, most problems we have with life situations, or in conflicts in our personal dealings with others, can be improved by changing our angle of vision, or altering the attitude, or color, we give to life. If this sounds simple, it is, but we have to be motivated and willing to change, in order practice this simple secret of transformation. In addition, it is essential to know that the real basis of a joyful life is our spiritual practices for developing love for Krishna, and seeing him as our dear-most friend and well-wisher. We should be balanced, healthy people, but for Krishna’s service, not for just material happiness.
Examining our conditioned nature, habitual ways of dealing with life, coping strategies, and the subjects or words that push our emotional buttons can help us understand areas in our life that require adjustments and change. We can’t solve a problem until we identify it, and we can’t change unless we see the value in change. Keeping our life the same is often the easiest thing we can do, even if we are suffering greatly. Change requires we shake up our internal status quo, or the way things have been for much of our lives. As the saying goes, “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten!”
When we chant the holy name of Krishna, it is like making ghee. When we make ghee we boil butter and remove the mild solids, which are compared to our anarthas or unwanted ways of thinking and acting. If we don’t remove the milk solids, the ghee burns, so if we don’t remove our anarthas, we will remain spiritually stuck, or leave Krishna Consciousness, at least for some time. Along with being aware of our conditioned nature and unwanted tendencies and praying for their removal, the fruit of the bhakti path is to develop our devotional feeling, service attitude or giving nature. We want to get rid of, let go, or purify all the things that we are not as souls. This makes way for our pure, blissful, devotionally loving self to emerge. As the saying goes, “Out with the old and in with the new.” Of course spiritually speaking, the real “new” or foreign is our conditioned nature, where our “old” or true nature is our souls. [continued in a few days]