Becoming a Better Person
I used to think that life was all about getting to some other place. I thought if I could just get the right job, the right, girlfriend, the right phone, and the right cat then I would be the person I always dreamed I could be.
But most of the time, I could never get things just right. And even when I did, I wasn’t satisfied. The reason I wasn’t happy was that I was looking for something else to make me the person I longed to be.
It took me a long time to see this cycle and even longer to begin to overcome it. Here are some things I’ve had to accept on my path to being a better person.
No Achievements -
The first thing I’ve had to work to accept is that achievements won’t grant me any special powers. I’ve met or worked with more than a few famous musicians, celebrities, and writers. And one thing I can tell you is that they are all flawed, just like you and me.
We like to think that great people are perfect, but they aren’t. We like to think that if we achieve great things we will be perfect. But the truth is that achievements don’t change who we are.
Don’t get me wrong, achievements can be wonderful and cause for great celebration. But the truth is that they won’t fix you or make you perfect.
Look at your life and see what you’ve been waiting on to make the changes you need to in your life. Then ask yourself, what if I didn’t wait? What if I changed despite the fact that everything isn’t quite how I’d like it to be?
You Have What You Need -
The next thing I’ve worked to accept is that I already have everything I need. I’ve realized that I can’t wait for some future set of circumstances to be who I want to become. If I want to be that better person, I have to start becoming that person now.
I have to let go of the external variables and just focus on living my life in alignment with my values. What’s amazing is that as I’ve done this, my life started to change. Many of the things I dreamed about started happening. Not because I was obsessed with success, but because I was living in alignment with best self.
Don’t wait for some other day to be your ideal self, instead try asking yourself, what can I do today to be who I want to be. What can I change about my attitude and my perspective that will bring me closer to my ideal self?
Everything Is Perfect -
The last thing I’ve worked to accept is that everything is perfect. This is especially hard because very often things don’t seem perfect. Life seems hard, I don’t get what I want, and I experience suffering. But despite the fact that I’m not happy, I know there is a perfection that I cannot see.
When I let go of my agenda and am really present that perfection steps forward. And I’ve seen it enough to know that even when I can’t see it, it’s still there.
Of course, if you’ve never seen this perfection, you may not believe me. This is why it’s so important to look. This is where meditation is so valuable because it’s one of the most effective ways to see perfection unfold in every breath or sound.
But even if you don’t like to meditate you can try by looking for the perfection in every moment. Simple ask yourself as often as you remember, what is perfect in this moment. You may be surprised by what you find.
Intention Not Outcome
Of course, I’d love to take credit for all of these insights, but the truth is that I learned these things by studying Zen. Soto Zen teaches that we are all already Buddhas, but we don’t realize it. And that we meditate because meditation is the activity of a Buddha.
What I took from this teaching was that the only thing that separates us from our dreams is the idea that our dreams live in some other moment and belong to some other person.
But the truth is that nothing is lacking either in this moment or in your life. It’s not an easy truth and it’s certainly something I struggle with everyday. But when I can let this truth live in my life, I find it brings me a deep sense of calm and peace.
So instead of looking for what’s wrong or how to make your life better, try to see your own perfection and the perfection of the moment.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t have work to do. But it does mean that there isn’t anything that is outside our grasp.