Radical world events such as the global response to COVID-19 create enhanced pressure to relax our grip of a previously known reality in order to be in alignment with our deepest selves.
Here are 10 tips for knowing you are right on schedule.
Everything that used to be fine now really grates on you. You are no longer able to hold your tongue, and discover yourself criticizing your partner’s teeth brushing technique. You hear yourself being mad at people you love. And most obviously, you are being really hard on yourself.
This nagging feeling of dissatisfaction and irritation is part of how the mechanism of transformation works. Vairagya is often translated as non-attachment, and there are two parts to it. The first stage is often repulsion. Anais Nin’s famous quote, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom,” is a classic metaphor for the common and shared experience of being over it. The second stage of Vairagya is the experience of attachment to and desire for something higher or bigger. This brings us to #4.
Once we have experienced a vision of what might be coming next, we are sort of screwed. The mind will begin to resolve the dissonance between where it currently finds itself and where it imagines it will go. Without even meaning to, we will begin brainstorming and a path will be seemingly organized for us. Surprising actions will start to appear at the top of our to do lists. The hard part is doing them. More on that in #10.
Instead of shaming yourself and imagining that you need to lose weight to fit back into your old clothes, consider that you are storing extra energy for the next phase. Dedicated effort (tapas) is one of the three magic components of preparing for transformation and you will not be up for the journey if you are starving. If you have been around growing kids, you know that just before a growth spurt, they bulk up. So get some bigger clothes and relax. Your weight will change again and again and again.
Resources are helpful in maintaining the status quo. When our worlds start to fall apart, it can be tempting to try to hold things together with pure effort and credit cards. Stop. Let that energy that is trying to keep it all together power your transformation and help give birth to your next phase.
An essential skill is the ability to notice when we are being a d*ck. When our patience has become tissue paper thin, we can no longer even pretend to listen to coworkers, and we are chatting in all CAPS, we’re probably being a super jerk. Extra confirmation is when even your dog or cat seems to be avoiding you.
This is a natural result of not having our own house in order. Apologize a lot and give your loved ones permission to call you out. Sit the next couple of plays out and practice all those relaxation techniques that you thought you were beyond. It takes actual work to be an a**hole and you need that energy to transform.
Whether it’s alcohol, weed, sex, fried food, too much exercise, or something stronger, we know when we are in excess. The attempt to escape is not a bad thing. It’s natural and normal to seek relief from the immensity of the human condition. If possible, find someone who you can confide the truth of your indulgences to. Essential to being able to change behavior is seeing the behavior clearly and softening enough to receive help.
Our hair carries old energy. We all know that bouncey light feeling of a fresh hair cut. Everything feels orderly. When you discover that you have done something extra radical, like shave your head, chances are you're open and ready for something new.
Maybe Krisnhamurti put it best: “The free man has no choice.” If there still seems like there is a choice in your actions, then it is likely not yet time and there is not enough information. But if you have begun to experience a strangely quiet clarity and acceptance around the next indicated actions, then the transformation has already begun. The actions on the path of transformation usually require us to lean into sharp points and allow us to untangle the deeper layers of attachment. Relax, you are in good hands. It will still be scary, there might be blood and hurt feelings, but it’s gonna be okay.
Ultimately, self study, dedicated effort, and trust (Sutra 2.1) are three of the most important qualities necessary to unravel the mental affiliations (kleshas) that have us in their grip. We suggest dropping into Ravi Ravindra’s 10 Day Course on Self Transformation, picking up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, adding push ups and other HIIT movements to your routine to help pull you out of your pout and show up for the new you that awaits.