I talk a lot in this blog about tendencies, or samskaras in sanskrit. How we all are born with certain tendencies when it comes to the function of our bodies (too hot, poor circulation, gain weight easily, etc.) and in our thought processes (critical, distracted, etc.).
But why do we need to change the way we are?
That’s a good question that I was asked last night.
One could argue that we are born with these tendencies, they make up who we are! They define us. They are part of our very being, and important to our sense of self.
Why should we need to change? Aren’t we all just perfect the way we are?
Okay, let’s backup for a second. When I say we have tendencies, and those tendencies need to be balanced, I am not saying that there is something necessarily “wrong” with you. In fact, many tendencies by today’s cultural standards might be considered “good”. But they are still tendencies.
Being competitive is a tendency. It is considered a positive quality in today’s economic model. But who’s to say that will be the case in 100 years?
Being able to lose weight easily is considered a positive quality in today’s society. But generations ago, being overweight was a sign of wealth and prosperity.
So let’s not attach judgment to our tendencies. If we can recognize first and foremost that there are not good or bad tendencies, but we are born with some regardless, then we can move forward.
Now you might be thinking, “That’s great! I am me, and there’s no need to change!”.
So are we perfect the way we are? The answer, is still no.
The reality is that the vast majority of our tendencies will produce disease in our bodies. We are all born with these. It is unavoidable. Never mind if by societal standards they are considered good or bad. The question to ask is whether or not those tendencies are leading you towards poor health or better health.
If you do that which is harmonious, you will produce a healthy body and life.
If you do that which is disharmonious, you will produce an unhealthy body and life.
You might say something like:
“I like being cold and hate being warm so too bad if you don’t agree!”
“I am me. I am stubborn but focused, hard working and never quit, and I don’t change for nobody!”
You may even feel justified in sentiments like that. And it’s true, you shouldn’t change because of what other people think of you. So instead, listen within. Quiet that loud ego that is screaming to define itself in such limiting ways.
You are not your tendencies. You are so much more my dear reader.
As my girlfriend likes to say, “You are a ghost inside of a skeleton wrapped in a meat suit flying through outer space.”
Hilarious, and true. What makes you so uniquely “you” is not all those things you attach to that you call your identity. It is not all those tendencies that you refuse to let go of. When you can balance your tendencies, your true nature, as an amazing part of this universe that is made up of the same stuff that the stars themselves are made up of, will emerge. In this sense, we are eternal! Everything else is just drama. All of a sudden focusing on fleeting personality or physical traits becomes rather moot.
Think of your tendencies like water going through a hose. When all is normal, the water flows perfectly through the hose to where it needs to go.
If it is in excess, it will come out too quickly and forcefully.
If it is deficient in flow, it will come out too slowly and weakly.
If it is blocked, then nothing can flow. There is a kink in your hose.
Finally, if the hose is damaged, then the water can flow out and it never gets to where it’s supposed to.
We need to keep all of our mental and bodily functions like a perfectly flowing hose. When we do that, we create good health. We create balance. Our ego is quieted, because we are no longer defining our existence through physical and mental dramas and suffering. We find peace, stillness, and see ourselves in everything.
We stop defining ourselves through our separateness from everyone, and start defining ourselves through our connection to everything.
You can learn to overcome all those tendencies within you that are preventing your true peaceful self from emerging. It takes time. It is not easy. But it is a wonderful and humbling path. I’ll say it again:
You are not your tendencies. You are so much more, my dear reader.