The New Year Re-Solution
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The most important thing to remember about New Year Resolutions is that the part of you that makes them is not the part of you that has to keep them.
The part of you that has to keep them is not, as a rule, remotely interested in the intention behind the resolution. It didn’t make the promise so it doesn’t see any reason whatsoever to remind you to keep it or support you in keeping it. It doesn’t want you thinner, fitter, smarter or more adventurous. Its entire purpose is to keep things the same as they were.
Why? Because you’re alive. The human ego’s job is just that: to keep you alive. It’s the part of our psyche that works with the tribe to keep everyone going and working together. So far, it’s been doing okay (you are alive aren’t you?). It’s really not interested in whether you’re actually happy or engaged in self improvement because both of those may threaten the tribe or make you an outcast.
The ego is all about ‘better the devil you know’ because the devil you know hasn’t killed you yet. It may have allowed you to be depressed or despairing, experiencing great highs and lows or just experiencing a gnawing low-grade unhappiness. It knows that those are the normal human condition — after all, that’s what it sees over and over again as ‘the truth in the workplace, the TV soaps and the media.
Pretty much everything in the media now tells us that everything has gone wrong and that there’s still a recession and there’s so much to moan about (and there are so many more smart appliances with which to spread the moans!).
The communal ego-consciousness is about expecting others to make it better, not about seeing that it is all a reflection of our own psyches.
We’ll do our bit by giving to charity (which gives us a temporary feel-good effect that the ego is happy with because it fits in with the tribe and it won’t last). We’ll intend to make 2013 better and we’ll start off consciously and with great hope. And sometimes we’ll make it. If the thing we want sorted is genuinely threatening our life, our relationship or our health, we may well summon up the courage (cour-age, of the heart) to persist and to achieve our goal.
And that’s the secret. The heart level of the human psyche, is also the soul-level. If we want, from the soul, to make a change, then we will have wonderful good intentions. But this level is the one that initiates rather than maintains. The ego is the one that maintains.
And of course, if we don’t make it, we have a wonderful weapon for beating ourselves up and getting ourselves right back to the starting point with even less courage to try again.
If you want to change life for the better this New Year, you have to work from heart and soul. And this can, truly, be the best indicator you can have to whether you really are working from the heart and soul. If you don’t find the discipline to achieve your goal, then you are not. You are still being run by the ego.
This is not wrong; it is not bad; it just is. But it’s very definitely worth knowing. So many people say they are ‘coming from the heart’ but the non-development of their lives shows that this is the ego deluding them. It likes doing that. The ego is very good at fooling you into thinking it’s your heart.
Working from the heart level means that you can, will and do apply self-discipline. Discipline or, in the Kabbalistic system Gevurah, is part of the soul’s formation. Spiritual growth is not comfortable and rarely convenient and you can’t do it without self-discipline.
But what you can do is engage with the ego. Then it will help you and that makes it much easier. Instead of joining that gym or going on the crash diet which will make you ‘perfect’ by Easter, try small, achievable everyday goals. Things that you can re-commit to every day rather than resent doing and then forget to do.
For example, perhaps you’d like to increase your knowledge of your subject or line of expertise. But you’d also like to be thinner and fitter. So how about you sit yourself down and talk to yourself kindly, so informing the ego instead of just imposing a rule on it. Firstly, thank it for keeping you alive up until now. Usually we shout at ourselves for being where we are but the ego’s done its job so it’s both daft and self-destructive to complain at it for doing what it was created to do.
Then, appreciate all that is good in your life ... every little thing from being able to have a cup of tea and go to bed in your own bed at night to being able to see and hear (actually these are not ‘little’ things!). Then think of four things you’d like to make a resolution about such as sorting out your work, getting a new job, research, slimming, exercise, five-a-day etc. etc. Then decide that every day you are going to do one of those four things, including the appreciations. So, you are going to either think of ten appreciations a day or take 15 minutes exercise or cut back on your food for the day or read an improving book or watch an instructional DVD every day.
That will be more like play and it’s much easier for the ego to agree. What’s more, you have to make a conscious choice which one which always engages the soul level. On most days you may find yourself doing more than one of the intentions. And even if you forget all day, you can still do ten appreciations at the end of the day and you still haven’t broken your promise to yourself. That will help you feel good about yourself and that’s the key. Help your ego to help you and to move at a pace that doesn’t feel threatening and you really could find a whole new you by Easter. Or, perhaps even better, you could be deeply at peace with the you that you are now.
Wishing you a wonderful, peaceful and plentiful 2013.