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Question: Resolving to change comes easy, but the will necessary to keep promises to myself soon fizzle. At other times, when life gives me a good blow, change is no longer optional, and resolve becomes quite effortless. How can I muster myself to keep my good intentions for a more healthy and balanced life when it’s so easy to fall back into “cruise” control?
Answer: No one wants to struggle… when they don’t have to; only when the “currents” of life rise up and threaten to wash away what we are identified with do we pick ourselves up and work to preserve what we fear might be lost.
Such struggles serve nothing other than the world they appear out of and disappear back into once some kind of personal “harmony” is restored. Of course, the problem is that this “balance” is as precarious as the changing of the seasons called our preferences. But, passing time ensures the re-emergence of negative states as unwanted events roll through and by, and the whole pattern simply repeats itself until the body is worn out and passes away… having served nothing but its own conditioned interests.
One must learn to struggle with him or her “self”– all the time — because without awareness of the way one meets his or her life, of what meets life for one when one is just “gliding” along… then, in truth, what is it that meets life? The answer is… no one: just a host of habitual thoughts and feelings, prejudicial ideas and beliefs, mechanical reactions. If we are not aware of ourselves — right now, and in all possible subsequent moments — then even though we “live”… we are not really alive. And, for the record, the presence of strong emotional states, positive or negative, does not mean we truly live any more than an i-Pod has individual intelligence just because it can sort through a playlist on its own.
Make an aim for yourself… give yourself a task that you know you must attend to, whatever its nature. Perhaps you never stop to consider the needs of others, maybe you’re a “rush-aholic,” or continually feed yourself “pleasure foods,” or eat when not hungry, or enable your own bad habits by submitting to them against your own best interests. Just pick ONE… and keep it before you at all times. Intend to attend to this aim above and beyond all other things. This wish and willingness to struggle with your own runaway parts will produce a new awareness of what is real, true, and valuable for you.