Henry R. asks: Why is it so hard to change my life and implement positive new directions? I keep resolving to start doing things differently, like in the New Year for example, but it doesn’t stick?
Lama Surya Das: We all know about New Year’s resolutions, and how often they don’t really work out. Habits are difficult but not impossible to overcome.
The bad news is that we’re heavily conditioned; the good news is that this is simply conditioning, which is the essence of karma— the law of cause and effect. We can consciously recondition and de-condition ourselves, if we work on it— especially if we ask for help and are blessed with some know-how. If you’re resolute or even desperate enough, then you will take effective measures to change your behavior; until then, it’s hard just to think your way into new ways of doing and becoming. My advice is to start small; make a small change. Don’t be intimidated by grand ideas such as “I must change my life” (even if it may happen to be true on a large scale). Chunk it down; start small.
Start observing yourself closely, and change some of the simplest habits, like which shoe or sock you put on first, and reverse the order, or how you cross your arms or legs.
Once, a wealthy businessman approached Buddha with the question how to be more generous, since he had a hard time even giving to his wife and children. Buddha said: “Start moving the money from one pocket to another, just to undo the stuckness and get used to the feeling of movement, change, and letting it go.”
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