The Myth of Self Improvement

Shaking Hands

The practice of meditation is an excellent tool for interrupting the momentum of the hamster wheel. It allows us to stabilize experience so our natural clarity can dawn. Then we can begin to see the life we are living. Along the way, we begin to recognize the places we undersell ourselves in order to follow the perceived safety of the momentum that robes our life. By seeing this, the game slows down. We begin to realize we have had control all along and that we can regain authority over our lives.

This process takes manual application. It can’t be done by a quick fix or any slight of hand with the universe.  It takes work. It is essential, however that the work be done with great joy, encouragement  and patience. Aggression of any kind, including self-help based on self-denial, keeps us trapped in cycles of self-defeat. These patterns are so ingrained they are taken for granted, as if it was a given that we were basically flawed. Not trusting ourselves, we apply pressure, demand and retribution in misguided attempts at self-improvement. In fact, this compulsive auto-parenting serves to lock us into patterns of self-limitation. All the while, there is a sense that we are less than we can be and that there is something missing from our life. So, we jump on another hamster wheel.

With a mindset that erodes inner confidence, we begin to look outside ourselves for completion. We search for a way to fool the world into believing we are adequate despite the sense that we are not. In so doing, we continually give ourselves away. We become slaves to that which we cling. We live a life of struggle and mentally escape into alternate dream worlds where struggles are easily definable and winnable. We lose ourselves in a fantasy version of a life that, ironically, we don’t actually believe we deserve. In this way, many of us find safety in the distance between our lives and our dreams. But, what if we began to look at our life as the dream and our dreams as a clue to what we want from life?

What if all we had to do to realize the dream was to wake up? What if everything we wanted was right here and all we needed was already happening? What if we became the person we were looking for? And what if our life became the life we wanted, simply because it was the life we had?

Perhaps all we have been missing in our lives, is life itself.