The theme for today’s 500 words challenge is goals. Goins suggests writing down your goal for the challenge and setting up a plan for how you’re going to do that. Since I already covered most of that in yesterday’s post, today I thought I’d talk about what qualifies me to talk about personal transformation.
I discussed my longstanding interest in life’s big questions in a previous post and said I feel like I didn’t have a choice in the matter. But perhaps it would be more accurate to say that my interest came about as a natural reaction to my circumstances. I don’t want to get into the details of my particular circumstances because I don’t think they’re relevant here. But I think it’s common for people to turn to spirituality after adverse events in their lives. It’s not even necessarily about finding comfort in the idea of an afterlife, but rather about coping strategies in this life.
Let’s take the origin story of the Buddha as an example. I don’t want to retell the whole story, but he was born a prince and only turned to spirituality after traumatic experiences caused him to become disillusioned with his life. Eventually he fell in with a group of monks who were into extreme self-mortification and nearly died of starvation. It was only after he saw the folly of both mindless hedonism and extreme deprivation that he became the Buddha.
I think that story is the story of all of us, or at least it can be. I’m not claiming to be any sort of enlightened figure, but I’ve been through some rough times and come out better on the other side. And while my life is always a work in progress, I can point to definitive signs of progress that I’ve made.
Like many people who have been through rough times, my initial response was to think that I was somehow inadequate, that everyone else had something that I lacked. Experience has taught me that neither of those things is true. I’ve learned techniques to help me deal with the first problem, which have in turn exposed the second problem for the sham that it is.
In short, I like myself and my life a lot more than I did a few years ago.
My life isn’t anywhere near perfect, but what I’ve learned has better equipped me to handle what life throws at me than was the case before. Some of that I owe to the spiritual teachings I’ve learned; some of it comes from less conventional sources. I will talk about both of those areas on this site.
This isn’t about my dispensing wisdom from some exalted place. It’s more like I happened to walk along a particular path before someone else and can see when they’re about to step into a hole and twist their ankle if they’re not careful. Don’t listen to me because I’m important, but rather because I remember the pain of twisting my ankle in that hole and would prefer that other people don’t go through that. I’ve made the mistakes so you don’t have to and look forward to sharing the journey with you.
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