Anything that will dissolve me, once and for all.
I’ve been training myself to be genuinely empathic and compassionate for the last ten years or so. It’s a slow, uphill battle, but I like to think it’s making me a better person. I’d hope that it’s an answer that would work for everybody. The inculcation into civilisation of genuine compassion and understanding would probably make a pretty big difference to the world.
It doesn’t deal with my laziness though, my demotivated absence of drive. An inability to make up my mind or make a start on the real things.
I don’t think that’s something quite as easy to fix. Awareness is a step, then challenging it, slowly building new habits and behaviours.
One of the greatest, and often ignored features of conscious mindfulness is that it gives us a platform for change. I get slightly sick inside when I hear people, normally trying to defend reprehensible behaviour, saying ‘that’s just who I am, I can’t change who I am’.
I just don’t think it’s true. The only way to truly be you is to be flexible enough to actually improve yourself. As soon as you solidify, you just become a statue, a stone memorial to how you used to be, waiting to crumble, erode and be nothingness. Solidity seems like it’ll last forever, but it’s more destructive than that. Stasis is too close to death. It’s goading it on, wishing it nearer. It’ll rush up on you, if you don’t remember to be fluid.
And change, and learning, and attention, these are the solutions that can dissolve you into fluid. Awareness, challenging, slowly building.
That’s all you really need.
Sure, it seems more complicated in practice, but that’s only because it’s difficult. It’s not actually complex, but we’re often battling our own brains. Mind is capable of tricking itself too easily, making a simple process into an overwhelming labyrinth of self deception.
But if you breathe, take in the world, know what the right thing to be is, and dedicate yourself to being so.
Well. It’s wishful thinking, because I’m not there yet, but I believe I’m on my way. I can look back and see myself growing up. I can look at me now and know I am more fully human than I’ve ever been before. I know I have more love in me, and it comes out more easily than ever before.
I am still selfish and arrogant and self obsessed and lazy. But less so. These are not my defining features, and never have been. My problems are not me, they are a part of me that I can work on, change and soften.
In doing so, all I do is strengthen the parts of myself I want to be. And that, I hope, can make a tiny, slow difference to the world around me.
I am weak, tiny and fragile, but I am part of something bigger.
I hope that’s enough.
Illustration by Emma