Making changes with Discipline, Faith and Support

by Sandra Radja

Don't hit rock bottom I was told once by a teacher of Ayurveda.  

Do whatever you want until you're sick of being sick, I've also heard some spiritual gurus proclaim.  

How many times can you start another diet or new years resolution to stop whatever it is that addicts you?  How often have you tried a grocery store cleanse or online cleanse only to feel great straight afterwards and then revert back to your old habits, more dismayed that nothing works.   There is a state of mind that helps create the necessary foundation for making changes in your life with regards to your health, and probably anything you wish to overhaul.  We look at the product for sale (pre packaged foods for weight loss, antioxidant everything, ayurveda, etc) and rarely do we ask ourselves - Do I have the qualities inherent to take on a journey of transformation?

Here are some that are worthwhile considering - 

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Discipline

Learning is physical and thank goodness neuroscience has caught up it's stance on consciousness and it's potential for physical and spiritual development.  These days modern neuroscience is governed by Hebb's rule " Cells that fire together, wire together" .  We now believe that the brain is plastic and has potential for rewiring our thoughts, feelings and the way we use our bodies rather than the way we used to think, which was based on the idea that once we reached adulthood we had cemented all beliefs to carry us through our lives.  Our habits define us and changing habits throws us into unfamiliar territory and so there is resistance, namely the pathways created in our brain.  To change a pathway requires perseverance; integrating new habits slowly and consistently.

From this idea a diet fad will never work since it has to come from an overhaul of lifestyle changes and the fad aspect usually implies a short term measure. If you didn't learn discipline in a positive fashion as a kid, it becomes a lot harder to cultivate this skill later in life. Similar to going church, it can be associated with hard times.  Taking the concept and owning it as something that you can now control is the first step that will help you adopt the changes needed to be successful.

It is always suggested that to cultivate discipline as a new skill, you take one small thing and you stick to it, to the very best of your abilities.  From small changes big changes happen.

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Faith

This one is tricky.  

Your healthcare practitioner is asking you to believe in something (joyful? calm? reasonable?) you either have no memory of the feeling or you're just too tired to feel. I believe it's grace that brings various healthcare options into your path but no matter how well Ayurveda may have worked for someone in the past, it requires an element of faith to be successful for your particular situation.  

I think it's true that sometimes we do get worse before we get better.  As we unearth toxins deep-set in tissues, it needs time to rise before it's eliminated through the digestive system. It's at this time, similar to the darkest time of the night before the dawn, that keeping faith will help propel you into a more balanced state of health.  How that faith is cultivated is part of your own journey.  It comes with taking responsibility to choose how you will live your life, but in essence it's an intangible ingredient and so each person will learn to cultivate their own version of faith.  It's a wonder to me to see what we can be capable of if we believe in ourselves.

A wise teacher once suggested when you are not sure what to do, do nothing.  I prefer to interpret it as think nothing. That also means that if you're in the middle of a healing path and all hell breaks loose, don't decide a change in course, just be guided by your healer and think nothing for a change.  

Just wait.

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Support

One of my friends many years ago, bed-ridden from severe pain in his back, had taught me the valuable art of not trying to "fix" the situation, but just to be there or hold space.  From this experience I came to realize how we humans can help each other.  The body and mind have an amazing ability to heal themselves when held in a supported environment.  

Until we can have the experience of what it feels like to be in a state of balance or at least cultivate the sense of honesty along with the knowledge base to make the necessary changes, finding support is part of the foundation that can help with the success of your transition. Once you have decided to make a change to your health, stick with it.  Too many times I have seen clients choose a path only to lose faith at the critical point. It's natural to wax and wane in the process and nothing is ever lost.  

Come back.  Come back again.  You will always be welcome to pick up from where you left off.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life. Think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
— Swami Vivekananda