May 20, 2012

The Four Desires Online Book Club -Don’t Postpone Your Happiness: The Four Desires Virtual Book Club.

Chapter 26: The Pain of Not Changing 

Can we commit to change towards a life filled with purpose, happiness, prosperity and freedom?  In theory, making a commitment resulting in these outcomes would be a simple decision. Yet chapter 26 highlights how change itself is painful, so much that it may trump any desire to live a more fulfilling life.

Why does this happen? 

Lets begin by understanding what change means in the context of The Four Desires. Many of the tools that move us towards a purposeful life ask us to observe our patterns and behaviors and then adjust or eliminate those that no longer serve us. Those habits that have a strong hold over us can be used as a departure point.  Giving them up, as hard as it may be, creates room for what we truly yearn for.

These negative patterns that we have chosen to live with for so long can be tough to kick. Perhaps if we got visible, tangible “prana points” every time we took a step in the right direction it would motivate us. Unfortunately, we don’t. However, we are constantly reminded of the things that we shouldn’t do. For instance, negative consequences like getting a $60 parking ticket will remind you to put more quarters in the parking meter next time.  

Rod asks us “which is greater: the pain of not having what you want or the pain of making the changes necessary to getting it?”

My immediate answer is, “the pain of not having it.” But how do we really measure that? By the work, responsibility and reverence you invest towards living your best life. Go back and review the exercises you completed, skipped or forgot about. Have you been keeping a meditation practice?  Did you decide that watching too much TV is your negative pattern but haven’t used the departure point or seeding the gap exercises to your benefit?

Has the pain of change triumphed over your best possible life? I hope not. Having gone through this process more than once, I know how difficult it can be. I also know that we can all start fresh and be re-inspired to get back on track.

The next exercise, Know The Consequences, encourages you to face what lies ahead if you decide not to participate in creating a more fulfilled life for yourself.  It simply asks us to write down the financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual consequences of postponing our happiness. We can visualize these repercussions but jotting them down gives them a more vivid and tangible context, hopefully moving you towards the necessary change. I would even recommend putting them side by side with your sankalpa and your dharma code. Post them up in the bathroom so that you see them every day and choose to live your best life.

“There are two pains in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.” Don’t postpone your

happiness; take action, start over, observe, observe, observe. Find a buddy to converse with about this process, and trust the universe. If you stepped up to the plate and have gone for it, you have already adjusted to an extent. Are the results always immediately favorable? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Like I said, change is hard, especially in the short term.  I would argue that most aspirations worth having involve struggle on some level.

Next week we will discuss contentment. But first go out there and give it your ALL!!!! You won’t be disappointed; the process will teach you about your Self and support your every endeavor.


Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?

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missmiapark May 21, 2012 1:46pm

at first thought, it seems like getting to happiness is a path of pain. and i'm now ok with this. and it's not necessarily true depending on how you define "pain". living a fulfilled life is hard work & the most rewarding work there is. i'd rather take the pain of not changing to see how happy i can be by changing for the best.

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Chanti Tacoronte-Perez

As a traveler and painter Chanti has grounded her roots in the path of yoga wherever she has landed. Chanti began practicing Yoga during her first year in college & continued when she left for Hampshire College to complete her BA in Painting/Fine Arts and Special Education. From 2001-2004 she lived and worked in Havana, Cuba as the Hampshire College Cuba Program Coordinator where she studied Iyengar Yoga. Chanti has been studying and teaching yoga in the Tantric Hatha Linage since 2005 with her teacher Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga. He has taught her that everyone has the ability to know their destination and find that road to walk on. She has currently completed the Para Yoga Certification (level I) & her Restorative Yoga training with Judith Handson Lasater. Her study of Sacred Art and Yantra Painting merge her love of Yoga with her passion for painting and education.