Both artist and patron, accepting responsibility for the masterpiece we are creating is not merely an accord to pick up a brush and begin splashing colors on a canvas. It is a deliberate understanding, recognizing that in order to craft a clear image, the old, dried up paint must first be removed. ~ The Great Enigma — Unwrapped
Shaping the quality of our lives is a process that tests both strength and courage. There is no one who can do the work for us and no single approach that will satisfy all. We need to trust that deep within our being exists the intrinsic wisdom to meet these tests full-on. Personal practice is our means of cultivating a supportive environment for these transformative challenges we will each individuallyfaceand require, in order to grow.
Although the underlying motivation may vary from individual to individual, the method to achieve self-fulfillment remains the same. The term achieve however, does not fully encapsulate the dynamic nature of this ongoing process. Instead, it wraps up images of attainment into pre-packaged fixes to be delivered on some future date.
It is the acting out of our lives in the present moment that will ultimately provide the fresh framework for our personal transformation. Whereas, our conditioning continuously pulls us back into a predominantly cerebral construct. However, growth does not occur through mere contemplation, and these notions and judgments often impede the full realizationof the spontaneous richness of our experience.
Personal practice is designed to begin removing the barriers these limitations can impose. This perpetual self-creation is not meant to infer radical reinvention — nor is it an invitation to lobotomize our personalities and conform to a set of pre-supposed ideals. The evolution depicted is more appropriately expressed as a gradual uncovering of the inherently brilliant aspects concealed within ourselves. These radiant qualities quietly exist; they’re merely obscured by the noise within the sphere our own minds.
However, if we assume this means we’re going to live in rapturous bliss surrounded by lavender clad fairies, perhaps we should reconsider the vision. A multitude of rewards, may or may not materialize as we begin establishing ourselves in regular practice. What’s more important is the close examination of our expectations to ensure a clear understanding of that which drives our commitment .
The process of renewal is very much like deep cleaning a home. Before the real organization commences, it’s often necessary to take stock. Cupboards, drawers, trunks and boxes need to be opened so what we’re working with may be assessed. Worthless junk gets tossed out; treasured gems are safely stored; bit-by-bit, what’s left is evaluated for necessity and value.
The mind is no different. A lifetime of accumulated of mental knick-knacks is packed into our cerebral storehouses, without ever taking proper inventory. As we begin honest observation of our tendencies and traits, it may appear a much better idea to stuff it all right back where we found it. Although it may not feel like it, this is progress. We must have faith that our self-fulfillment is worth any discomfort caused by the temporary disarray we are inviting.
It’s been said before that this endeavor requires courage. If we take a closer look at what self-fulfillment implies it may become more evident why. As overtly indicated in The Un-Acquisitional Quest, our possessions, surroundings and company we keep do not fulfill us. These things, or lack of, also don’t make us unhappy. All of the feelings and emotions related to the objects of our desire take place in our own mind.
Personal development isn’t about a series of rote activities performed and forgotten about. It involves working with ourselves, at both the conscious and subconscious level by observing perceptions, developing our minds and connecting with our bodies. This is no small order and as one may imagine — it takes time. If we start the day by simply plopping onto a meditation pillow expecting an immediate change to our current reality, we are likely going to be disappointed.
The gorgeous news is that this approach promotes lasting change. It’s the difference between a fad diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Cultivating the discipline to maintain a daily routine is designed to work with each of the areas within our lives. Relationships, physical and emotional health and mental clarity are all impacted.
This process of self-transformation is a slow dance. It often begins awkwardly, and with perseverance, gradually evolves into a graceful string of unencumbered movements. Personal practice is the music we move to. With learned familiarity, it imparts the rhythm to cross the habitual trappings of the mind and into the freedom of pure, uninhibited self-expression — if you’re ready.