Day 1: Choosing the Focus of Change
Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday. Baha’u’llah
Most people, when setting goals for change have the idea that is widely spread throughout the world, that if you want to accomplish something that you need to have a specific target so that you will see it all the time in your mind’s eye, and then you will know when you have accomplished it. While this approach to goal setting is valuable when doing material goals, it is detrimental to an inner transformation process. Material goals are connected to the earth so their value is finite in nature. When they are over, they are over. Once you have the million dollars or have lost the 20 pounds, the goal is finished.
Inner goals are achieved in a different way because the purpose of inner change is to unleash a process inside of you that you are going to keep forever. When you go after inner transformation, you pick a target that is general, usually something like a virtue. (courage, love, enthusiasm, honesty, joyfulness, patience). These are qualities that everyone has inside of them in potentiality. If you want to see a virtues list, go to http://www.virtuesproject.com/virtueslist.html. By keeping a goal general like a virtue, you recognize that you are not in control of how you are going to get to the process. In the inner world, you realize that there is a spiritual dimension, a higher power, God, that guides the learning. When you get too specific in the initial stages, you cut out the guidance that comes from the inner world.
The way to choose an inner goal is to first go inside and ask yourself a superlative question that is usually a little negative in nature.
What is the biggest mess in my life?
What is the worst thing I am facing?
What is the biggest challenge for me right now?
It is always good to write the answer. The biggest mess is my relationship with my children, with my boss, with my spouse. The worst thing I am facing is bankruptcy.
When you set an inner goal, its purpose is to solve the superlative questions. Do you need peacefulness, patience, assertiveness, enthusiasm, determination, hope, calmness, love, empathy, tact, generosity, gentleness, joy, courage? Whatever you need, is a solution.
Pick a virtue or process for yourself right now after having done the superlative questions.
Besides having an exclusive focus on material goals, by far the thing that always stops the actualization of virtues is the lack of daily work. Most people, whether they set material or spiritual goals, tend to set the goal and then stop. So after you have set the focus, the next step is to commit yourself to a daily process of change which is the purpose of this program. Inner goal work is successful to the degree that you work on it everyday.
On the first day of the program you can use the name of the virtue every time you run into obstacles. Here is an example. The other day I was taking a tennis lesson. The instructor was teaching me a new way to hit a forehand, but when I tried it I kept hitting the ball into the net or hitting it too long. I realized that I had been dealing with some rejection issues so I just picked acceptance as the virtue I needed. When I repeated the word acceptance, every ball went over the net into the court just how I wanted it. It was pretty incredible.
You don’t have to do anything else on the first day other than pick a virtue and then start naming it when you get to obstacles. Today is a good day to do it.
Note: If you have been in abusive situations in the past and have not gotten good help for working through the issues, doing this work may start to call some of that energy up. If you feel yourself going into a panic or an out of control fear, that would be natural for you. You can do this program as long as your negative emotions don’t run away with you. If they do, it just means you need to go to for some help. There are lots of competent people in the world to assist.
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