“Impossible. People don’t change!” exclaimed House, the brutally skeptical hero of the t.v. series with the same name. House’s assertion gave us an interesting idea to contemplate during our day cruise on the quiet winter bay yesterday.
House is so caught up in his life-long struggle to realize the Self beneath his tragically genius mind, rascally nature, and tender heart in a teflon shell, that he is sure we all are stuck in our own personalities. House is such a captivating character because he still has a coming-of-self struggle of a teenager (with teenage tenacity and terror;-) as an accomplished senior physician. He can solve even the most complicated medical problems, yet continues his actively engage in an exhausting struggle with the basic questions of life.
So, can we really change or not? I think that as people with personalities and minds we can change. No, I think that we must change with the flow of life. It has been in the times of my life when I have resisted change that I have felt furthest from my true Self.
While our karma (lessons learned and tendencies developed from the past) may indeed color every seemingly blank page or new opportunity we get, we all have the possibility to see the coloring of our own mind, to understand the distortion of our vision, and work with that.
This year I have done a lot of reflection on my past and realized that through all the various phases of my life, I have never really accepted the fact that my fundamental outlook in life is always changing. In fact, while my soul may remain steadfastly unblemished, like Lord Shiva sitting in Meditation up on Mount Kailash, my mind and personality continue to change with the dance of Shakti that is life.
If I engage in life, it is inevitable that my convictions, my ‘core beliefs’, the strands of thought that are so easily mistaken for ‘who I am’, are always developing and changing. If what I thought 5, 10, 20 years ago is different from the way I see things now, I have to realize that what life is going to look like in the future will be different from the view I have at this moment.
I have never had ‘born again’ experience in this life time, or taken any drastic turns in my mental, physical or spiritual life. But there certainly has been a net change in perspective through all the constant adjustments, the shuffling back and forth, the comings and goings of my life. Sometimes the dance of life asks us to go beyond the limitations of our minds and personalities and grow into better people.
While the seas are relatively quiet, navigating these changes is easy. It’s when the weather picks up that the process of change is the most work.