Universal Principles of Change

As you may have reasoned from reading past blogs, my mind constantly seeks to draw out of life what I call universal principles. It’s my way of seeing the world from a simpler, less busy perspective.  As an example, when I commit to facilitating an organization redesign, which can be a complex process made up of an action plan with hundreds of steps and involving possibly hundreds of people, I simplify it by first outlining the four macro steps in every redesign or reinvention — dialogue, deep dive, design and deliver. Given that most challenges we encounter in today’s work world are both complex and complicated, this practice of mine doesn’t overwhelm people and helps them to see the bigger picture.

Having said this, it always amazes me when, on this planet of 7+ billion people, I discover someone whose thinking likens my own. In the May/June 2016 issue of Spirituality & Health, Jeffrey Rediger described three causes of healing, and since healing is the first step in any change process, I was intrigued.

Regardless if I am consulting with an organization to redesign their structure and culture or cultivating new opening in my own yoga practice, I cannot bring about either transformation without first addressing the need for healing and change within myself. It is exactly this hands-on experience that allows me to navigate a new journey with others, many of whom may initially be strangers.

To truly bring about personal and social healing and change, we need to tap into our body and mind intelligence. As Richard Rohr states in his Daily Meditations, this integrative learning comes to us from “hands-on experience, emotional risk-taking, moving outside of our comfort zones, with different people than our usual flattering friends. We need some expanded level of spiritual seeing or nothing really changes at a cellular or emotional level.” Such a body-mind expansion, often an intuition, is what inspires us with the courage and motivation necessary to forge onward even when the path ahead feels long and drawn out.

Every journey of healing and change is what the ancient mystics called “the hero’s journey.” In actuality, this is the journey of life, as we know it on planet earth. We can choose to live the richness and fullness of a heroic life by simply healing ourselves. In this process, we come to know the truth in the following three principles, or as Rediger titles them, the causes of healing.

3 Universal Principles for Healing and Change:

1.   Great courage for accepting the truth, no matter what it looks like.

You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose
both.  
Brene Brown

I speculate that every human choice we make is between courage and comfort —

•  Eat a balanced diet or junk food

•  Forgive my transgressions or blame others for them

•  Face my feelings or smother them with alcohol and narcotics

•  Slow down and get to know myself or keep busy to distract me from seeing me

Healing and changing amounts to creating a new relationship with oneself — a relationship in which we can look in the mirror and say “I love and respect you” to the face looking back.

2.   Deep commitment to self-knowledge.

We become what we focus on. If you want to help a person with diabetes or alcohol
dependence, you help them more by helping them get a great life, built on what is
right and magnificent about them, rather than focusing too directly on the disease.
When we fill the deeper part of us with something higher or with love, we don’t need
to try to get love from food, alcohol or something else.   
Jeffrey Rediger, MD, MDiv

It takes courage and commitment to get up out of bed everyday and look at who you are. Some days our thoughts, words and deeds are filled with negativity, doubt, denial, blame and anger. These are the days when we are not at our best, and when we most need to pay attention to what is triggering such reactions. Only then can we heal the hurt from the past and move into a calmer more loving existence.

3.   Huge capacity for change and growth.

IMHO, the capacity we are trying to grow during our lifetime is the ability to shift from a negative self-concept rooted in fear into a positive self-esteem grown from loving oneself. 

Negative attitudes and their subsequent negative behaviours are fairly visible to us and thus are more likely to attract our attention when we consider changing aspects of ourselves. When we kick it up a notch and attempt to heal and transform our less visible, moral decision-making processes, it takes deeper awareness and greater commitment on our part.

In our college years (mainly because our early education still focuses on getting a job rather than developing awareness and response-ability to be moral contributors) our personal development and maturation is at a more superficial level — physical and cognitive rather than emotional and spiritual wherein moral discernment lies. Thus we are left in adulthood feeling out of balance and not knowing why or what is missing from our lives.

Changing from fear-based decision making to loving kindness requires us to not only be aware of our negative behaviours but also their underlying negative beliefs. When we only focus on changing habitual negative behaviours (symptoms) without addressing the source of those behaviours (beliefs), we merely replace the old negative habit with a new negative habit.

The more positive our attitude, the more open we are to adapting to changing circumstances because instead of fearing life we embrace its mystery and adventure. Courage, commitment and capacity . . . I like its simplicity, and I know that simple does not imply easy.

Is there a current challenge in your life where you can apply your courage, commitment and capacity in order to realize what you have always wanted?

For more on healing and transformation, click here.

Make a gift of your life and lift all mankind by being kind, considerate, forgiving, and
compassionate at all times, in all places, and under all conditions, with everyone as
well as yourself. This is the greatest gift anyone can give.    
David Hawkins

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