It had become clear to me a year back that there was no dearth of change in my life. Some called mine an exciting, interesting life. But within me, I felt very little change. Despite new external situations I carried the same attitudes, judgements, fears, in short the same way of ‘Being’.
Hence change, I learnt is not transformational.
The closest example of transformation is from nature: of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. The butterfly is a different entity and hence does not in any way live, eat or behave like a caterpillar. It does not have to force itself to stay away from any ‘caterpillarish’ behavior, it just has a different nature.
I believe that if we lived in harmony with nature and with ourselves, our transformation would also be as organic, but sadly we live lives of disconnection and very little awareness of self.
But hopeful, I continued to seek transformation.
The question was how? I needed some kind of tool, some guide book to follow. I did what a lot of us do: read books, listen to talks and speak to people. All these helped but didn’t give me the answer.
And then one day while doing my yoga, it dawned on me that my daily practices were the tools of transformation, the tools that manage waking time.
For a practice to be transformational it:
- needs to be performed every day, each day, 2.5 hours or one tenth of a day, is what some schools of thought recommend.
- can be anything: yoga, meditation, singing, painting, or running, but must correspond with what you want to become.
- is performed with all awareness. While engaging in it, this is the only thing you are doing. This is what differentiates a practice from a habit. Habits are repetitive acts that can be performed with very little attention or awareness and often in combination with other things. Take driving for example: once you have learned it, you are paying attention to the road but can also be taking on the phone, chewing on food, all unrelated to driving
As you engage more and more with your daily practice, and feel a sense of progress, without you realising, transformation takes hold. No longer through will power and determination are you forcing yourself to do the practice but rather the practice is drawing you to it, gradually changing your way of ‘being’ .
To give an example. I want to have a healthier body: more flexible, more balanced, calmer and free of aches and pain. While I was doing yoga off and on for more than 2-3 years now, it is only when I consciously made it a daily practice that slowly, my time around the practice has increased. My progress is slow but consistent. I automatically eat an early dinner the previous day because it feels better to practice on an emptier stomach. I no longer force myself to do it and miss it on days that I can’t.
Without my doing anything, it has gradually created an ecosystem that is most suitable for its progress and therein lies its power of transformation.
P.S: this post is best read in continuation to the previous post:We are what we do all day long