Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Peeling an Onion

As humans, we seem to have a hard time changing our minds about anything.  I'm not talking about changing our mind about dinner, or a pair of shoes.  It's the beliefs we have about how our lives work that we have a hard time adjusting.

Perhaps it is because by the time we think to question our assumptions and really look at them, they have already served us for decades.  I don't know many teenagers who wonder if their ideas about life are correct or not - they are too busy living and trying everything out for the first time.  Those in their twenties are pushing to establish who they are.  And in our thirties, as I am, I find we are all questioning how we got here as well as still trying to figure out who we are.

It is difficult to see our beliefs when we are in them.  We can feel and sense where some of our conclusions are off, or aren't serving us anymore.  But trying to pinpoint them can be so elusive and frustrating.  Often we just end up seeing the edge or result of a belief and not the belief itself.  Like peeling an onion, layers upon layers of patterns emerge.  It is amazing to start to see how much of our life just builds on the last layer, whether or not that layer was injured or diseased or cancerous.

To truly break a cycle of behavior, thought and emotion, we have to leave the old pattern behind.  We can only do that if we can identify and replace the seed of all of the previous layers.  I think that when we do that, the changes can be instantaneous and lasting.  It has to be a fundamental shift, like an evolutionary leap.  Otherwise, the changes are just surface adjustments, once again.

Perhaps this is why religion holds such fascination for humanity.  All religions speak of leaps of divine grace and intervention, where in an instant, those seeking relief or enlightenment just suddenly wake up and become the Buddha, become a saint, or reach a level of bliss that the rest of us ordinary folks can only dream about.  Is it their faith that delivers them, allowing for their brains to be rewired, their memories rewritten to be compassionately remembered?  Or is faith simply a word we have for perfect allowing for a change to be made?  Allowance of a different way of thinking, feeling and believing, without doubt and without worry or fear of slipping backwards again.

We all want to be peaceful, to accept our faults and gifts, to love and be loved, to make a difference in our world.  How do we let go of our fears and simply exist, free to be as we are, loving and breathing and creating together with all that is around us?  I'll let you know when I figure it out.  We could all use an instant of divine grace and transformation.

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