In the final part of Chapter 1, “What Do I Know About the Process of Change?” Learn about a metaphor you can use to begin the process of change.
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What Do I Know About
the Process of Change?
A Room With a View
Let’s use another metaphor to describe how you can create new pathways in your brain, keep the best from your past, move out of your comfort zone, take a few Kaizen steps, and move toward a new future.
Imagine that in the house or apartment where you live today you discover a door you’ve not seen before. on the door is a sign that says, “silence when entering this place of creativity and change.” You’re not sure what you’ll find when you open the door, but you decide to investigate. So you turn the knob and see a staircase leading up to a small, very quiet room with clear windows facing in every direction.
In the center is a swivel chair where you can sit most comfortably and look out toward the world as it is today, and how you imagine the world might be in the future. Best of all, there is a table where you can open your backpack and some shelves where you can sort the load you’ve been carrying for such a long time.
As you place your backpack on the table, you look out the windows, taking care to look in every direction. That is when you notice two things you never noticed before. first, you realize that everyone and everything is connected with everyone and everything else, including you. Then, you notice that every person has a backpack. Before now, when you have met these people on the street, their backpacks were invisible, just as yours was. You knew you had a backpack because you could feel the weight, but you thought you were the only one burdened by the past. Now, you see that everyone carries a load. Some people are so weighed down they can barely move, and even drag a heavy trunk behind them. others seem to have had the courage to clean out their backpacks as they got older. They now manage to carry only a small knapsack or fanny pack, and move with grace and ease as they go about their day.
The idea that you might reduce the weight you’ve been carrying excites you as you unzip the pockets in the backpack and lay out the contents one by one. This should be easy, you tell yourself. I finally have a place where I can let go of what I don’t want and keep what I do.
Unfortunately, your ego has come into the room with you. It keeps whispering in your ear, despite the sign requesting silence. It wants to remind you that your identity is contained in your backpack. Thus, if your ego has watched you place great importance on material wealth, it will make certain you don’t discard anything that would decrease your possessions. if your ego has watched you achieve social prominence, it will make certain you remember the importance of your position in the community. If you place great value on your opinions, your ego will make it difficult for you to throw out anything that might conflict with your long-held views. If you are convinced that your job determines your importance in the world, your ego will do everything it can to help you hold onto the position. Sorting through the backpack will not be easy with the ego around.
That is why, to make the most of the opportunity this room provides, to learn how you can connect more easily with the people you see from this special place, and to step into the future with fewer encumbrances, you’ll have to nudge the ego aside. To do that you will need to express your “true self.” This is your essence, the most elementary and distinctive part of who you are. it has been called by many names: the “life force within,” the “wise self,” your “true identity,” your “intuition,” your “soul.” I will refer to it in this book simply as the “true self.” Whatever you call it, it is from within this calm place that change and pure creativity takes place. from this center you experience what it is like to go beyond “doing” and “having” into simply “being.”
It’s to be expected, of course, that when you listen to your true self, your ego will initially be thrown off-balance. it won’t know what to do with instructions for living in which you are not identified by your possessions, power, opinions, etc. You will need to make choices from your true self many times before the ego will relinquish the control it has wielded for years.
When it does let go, as it must if you frequently return to this room with a view, you will discover that it is within your true self that your “will” resides. You will need this inner resolve to sustain the energy it takes to reach a goal. Later, in chapter six, you are asked to call upon this “will” to discover whether you are ready to step through the gate to change and do whatever it takes to reach your goal of making a significant change in your life.
Further, as you continue to visit this room of change and creativity, as you pay attention to the quiet voice within, you will learn how to embrace qualities of the human spirit that are needed to reach your goals — patience, joy, gratitude, serenity, tenderness, tolerance, forgiveness, courage, to name only a few. in chapter seven, you will have a chance to learn how you can use these qualities every day to move more easily and confidently toward your goal.
• • • • •
You Know More Than You Think You Do
When you stand on the path that lies between now and the future, when you imagine your problems will be solved, you may have only a vague idea of how to move down the path, through the gate, and into the future. You aren’t even sure how to begin.
Fortunately, however, you’re not as clueless as you think you are, for you’ve already made hundreds of choices that have changed your life. Some choices have turned out well. others haven’t. Yet from each choice you have learned something.
And as you come to the end of this first chapter, i hope you can see how the process of change — as gradual and unconscious as it may have seemed — has applied to your life in the past, and to the possibility of a new life in the future.
As you continue to read, and to consider the questions in this book, I am convinced that the answers you give can help you be more fully in touch with your true self. Carefully considered, they will help you know the direction in which you want your life to change. Then you will be able to set, and reach, goals that are most consistent with the essence of who you are, with what you want to get out of life, and what you want to give.
BEWARE THE CRITICAL SELF
If you want to change your life, reflect on this question from CHAPTER ONE: