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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Old Self That Clings On

It’s the end of another day and as I take a good look at myself, I realise how much I have changed on one level and, yet, how difficult it is to manifest these changes. Indeed, during the times I’m alone and have to face my inner being, if you may, I do notice a conflict between who I am discovering to be authentic about who I am and how I come across to the outside world.

It’s not that I’m living a double life or expressing two completely different identities. Both this new sense of being and the old self seem to co-exist but, at the same time, each self has a story and a history and world view. These may be not necessarily opposite and they certainly don’t represent any split personality. They are more like an inner light that is hidden away by clouds. While the light is there and sometimes feel strong and clearly visible, circumstances only serve to obscure the beauty of this light with its preoccupation with what should be and a dissatisfaction (dukkha) that diminishes our appreciation of the present moment.

I do realise that there is a struggle between part of my being which opens my heart to a basic humanity. A being, so often misrepresented by popular media, of a compassion beyond conditionality or status. A compassion that recognises a universal dependence our essential impermanence.

Yet, it’s not easy to start to be the change you want to see in the world (to take line from Gandhi). It is painful because the safety of habit and the life we get used to provide us with a sense of comfort and relief. Considering another way appears too painful - not just for us but, yes, also for others in our life. A change of mind and engagement with our harts and the hearts of others requires more of us than simply uttering a few words of allegiance or a prayer. It may require to accept our nothingness in the light of a vast universe. It may mean recognising that our life is an ordinary life when compared to the life of the people inhabiting this world. It may be extraordinary in many other ways, but we all have to go through the same stages of life.

The habits we inherit from our previous past remain part of who we are today. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I believe I must accept that I have lived a life in the past I may need to change some aspects of this past. I feel that without accepting the reality of the past, there can be no growth and a great risk of getting too attached to truths that present themselves as absolute and never changing. Reality - a reality, which in itself, is ever changing and always being renewed.

In this sense, a radical rejection of the past would mean uprooting our roots without finding fertile soil to grow our sense of being. At least, at this point, I do find it difficult to really express what I feel inside. And I can’t expect that I will change overnight. But change must happen progressively like any process of growth one finds in nature. For, yes, we remain creatures of nature. Unique and impermanent.

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