During my last month at the Ashram, I watched as 10 of the senior staff took their vows for their next level of renunciation. Nine of them became Bramacharis (official celibates) and one a Sannyasin (an official renunciate of the world/ society, a Swami). Their sudden participation in this spiritual ceremony really made me ponder change.
I realized how for us, every day worldly people who live in society; unless change is subtlety integrated into our lives (ex. the next iPhone technology etc.); for the most part, we are actually very resistant to the changes we could make in our lives. Especially the ones that would temporarily pull us out of our comfort zone – even when this zone is uncomfortable. We are so used to the discomfort that it actually feels comfortable and we resist making any healthy changes (i.e., a more active lifestyle, leaving a job that is not a good fit; leaving an unloving relationship). The resistance to change is often due to the fear of the unknown.
As I watched this group of yogis suddenly “shed” the old and embrace the new – I found myself crying. The tears seemed to be out of sadness that the people I had now known for 2 years were changing; and, for myself because although I often know what changes I need to make to be in a better space – the resistance is often automatic and the guiding force. There always seems to be an underlying fear of letting go of the old me to say hello to an improved me. However, what I’ve slowly started to realize is that the old and improved me are the exact same person (duh – … I know). The truth is, the improved me is actually a true acceptance of who I’ve always been versus trying to be who I’ve never been. Does that make sense? We work so hard to be better and improve ourselves, when at the end of the day we are perfect just the way we have always been. The only real change that needs to be made is to accept oneself fully with all of our quirks and imperfections.
I’ve always struggled with the pursuit of perfection and in the last 2 years I’ve been shedding that objective. It’s become clear to me that striving to be perfect by changing my behaviour is the equivalent of striving to be someone I am not. The change that is coming, is the one that will settle in, as I truly embrace ME, wonderful, imperfect ME!