You Can Change Instantly. Here’s How …
Does it take herculean effort and much time to make deep changes in who you are? It does and it does not!
Here is a question I get often from my coaching clients and persons who enroll in my programs.
They are interested in personal growth and in transforming their lives. Some are addicted. Not the controlled substance kind but the iPhone and workaholism kind.
And they ask “How quickly can I see the change in my life? How long will it take?”
Many times they need reassurance that they should continue on the path they have started taking. And I provide this. I tell them – truthfully – that they have spent decades digging the hole in which they find themselves and it will take time for them to get out and to be of good cheer as they traverse the road I have pointed out to them.
But they are an impatient bunch and they want the change now. They don’t want to spend years or even weeks straightening out their lives.
Can change happen fast? Even instantaneously?
Indeed it can.
The Indian sage Sri Ramakrishna used to explain this in a parable:
Imagine a cave near the top of a mountain. For centuries, even millennia, it has been covered with rocks and dirt. No light has ever entered it. The darkness has been complete and long lasting.
Now someone unearths the entrance and enters the cave with a torch.
Does the darkness go away instantly? Or does it go away slowly, in stages?
What does it take for you to change rapidly?
That is the only thing that will dispel the darkness.
You have spent years being frightened by the snake in your neighborhood. One day you shine your flashlight on it and discover that it is really a rope.
And your fear drops instantly.
But here is the catch. Acquiring that flashlight and the ability to shine it on your problem could take years.
Or it could also happen right away.
The beauty and wonder of life is that you never know how it is going to play out in your particular situation.
Below is the tale of a young man who was estranged from his father and spent a decade feeling bitter and betrayed.
It took no time for all that accumulated ill will to dissolve.
The bible was in front of him as he sat at the table and bawled.
His shoulders heaved and strange, strangled noises punctuated the silence as the tears coursed down his cheeks.
A neighbor, who had also been at his father’s funeral, peeked in. He came up to the young man and laid his arm around him. He had to kneel to do so and it was uncomfortable so he sat down beside him.
“You really miss your father, don’t you,” the neighbor inquired.
The young man nodded wordlessly.
“What happened?” the neighbor asked. “I thought the two of you did not get along. You never visited and your father never spoke about why.”
The question set off a paroxysm of tears and a coughing fit.
Bit by bit the story emerged.
The father was devout and wanted his son to pray and attend church and read the bible.
The son had other inclinations and there was coolness between them.
It eased when the youth finished school and the father asked what he would like as his graduation present.
He really wanted a car and the two visited dealerships and checked out the used car lots. The son really, really liked a steel blue Mustang and the father was non-committal.
Somehow the son ‘knew’ that his father would get him that car.
There was a graduation party and when it concluded his father told him that he had a present for him. He looked up eagerly as his father emerged from the bedroom and gave him a bible.
It was leatherbound and wrapped in a blue ribbon.
Rage and disappointment surged in the lad. He had really wanted that Mustang. He had told all his friends that he would race them with his new wheels.
And his father…his father who had seen how keen he was on acquiring that particular car, who had led him to believe that he would get it as a present was now palming him off with a bible?
A bible of all things?
Seething with anger at the selfish oaf who had sired him he threw the bible down and stalked out.
He never spoke to his father again.
He slammed the phone down when his father called and threw away the letters unread and blocked his email.
He did not want to have any contact with a man who could play such a mean trick on his only child,
“What happened to upset you so much?” the neighbor inquired and the son broke down sobbing again.
“Was that the bible he gave you?” he asked.
The son nodded tearfully. “He kept it exactly as it was for all these years.”
“Look,” said the son as he brushed the ribbon aside and opened the bible.
There was a strip of paper between the stiff, leather cover and the first page. It was a certified check for $9,800.00.
“That was the exact price of the car,” the son said disconsolately and his lips quivered as he tried to stop himself from blubbering.
What kind of son would cut himself off from a father because he did not get the expensive graduating present he wanted?
Let’s not go there.
How long does it take for a decade of acrimony and animosity to dissolve and disappear?
That is what I would like you to contemplate. Centuries of darkness dispel instantly when light appears.