How Do We Change?

First, we have to recognise that change is needed. If we feel dissatisfied, uncomfortable, bored, worthless, and are suffering in some manner, we will want to change. However, because of past events, we may have to accept that some suffering will remain until death, due to the frailty of the human body and the tendencies in our character.

Those who are satisfied, comfortable, involved and have a feeling of worth will not want to change; they just want more of the same.

In order to change, we need to see the point of changing. We feel that there is more to us than mere science, and the laws of nature. Change comes from breaking down our mental barriers – our fixed ideas – our self programming.

As we change,
our perception changes,
and so our capacity changes.

The four mind changes
Traditionally, it is taught that there are four aspects of life to be considered; precious human birth, karma, impermanence, and the shortcomings of samsara. For more details:

The four noble truths
Recognise the truth that we are suffering.
Recognise the truth of the origin of suffering.
Recognise the truth of the cessation of suffering.
Recognise the truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering.

Admitting we suffer is the first step.
The origin of suffering is a mistaken view of ourselves.
The cessation of suffering is understanding the theory of removing that mistaken view.
The path is the actual recognition of that mistaken view.

Although we may meditate, chant and be a scholar, this does not necessarily mean we are changing. We can concentrate, analyse and know the theory, but we still may not change. Change comes from being confronted with a live situation: in that moment, we either close down, or we open up. By letting go of our limiting ideas when dealing with others who seem to be challenging, by listening to their needs, and by actually showing compassion, our potential is revealed. This is a rare occurrence, but means change is definitely happening.

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