A Revolutionary Approach to Change (continued)
If all it takes to sustainably change a habit is pragmatic laziness, why aren’t more people living the ‘perfect life’? It could be deduced that staying in awareness (pragmatic laziness) is harder than it seems. It’s this ability to maintain a constant state of awareness that is the second key aspect of the Enhances Awareness Program, which sets it apart from other personal development programs.
In maintaining his commitment to being aware, Phil recorded his weight daily on a graph that allowed him to observe and manage his progress. Phil acknowledged that even though he didn’t change his diet or exercise routine, he probably made a thousand choices each day that supported his intention to be a certain weight at the end of the two years. I know this sounds paradoxical but it was like he became unconsciously mindful – this is the lazy part of pragmatic laziness. The only personal application of will was to maintain the awareness of his weight every day, which included his intention, to achieve a certain weight at the end of two years.
So what could become an obstacle to Phil fulfilling that intention. It would appear that doing anything to stop being pragmatically lazy would become the obstacle. Since pragmatic laziness really means being aware, then what ever would stop him being aware becomes the obstacle. So let’s refresh on what it means to be aware.
Being aware is about being totally present to this moment, without judgement, without filters. Being aware, you observe the facts and how what you observe serves you, others and the planet. This combination is typically the precursor to being mindful, which means you act in a way that is more serving to you, others and the planet. Unconscious mindfulness or lazy mindfulness is naturally acting in a way that better serve you, others and the planet. It automatically arises from your sustained, enhanced awareness.
I have worked with many ‘spiritually advanced’ individuals who still find it challenging to sustain being mindful, evidenced by the times of ongoing suffering that takes them out of their stillness. By the way, if you want to get a sense of how aware and mindful you are, how well do you manage to stay in stillness? How often do you feel disconnected, used, thwarted, lack or hubris for example? The sorts of things that take us out of stillness. Typically the wheels come off the mindfulness wagon with what are generally very innocuous circumstances – when an expectation of oneself or another fails to be met. These aware people dip into a personal narrative that has plagued them throughout most of their life, a narrative with which they are very familiar with and something they have done a lot of work on, yet it persists.
It is this personal narrative from your formative years that stops both awareness and mindfulness. As many of you will have experienced, you can become disciplined in practicing mediation and living life mindfully, but you still struggle to have a sustainable loving relationship. Being mindful hasn’t resolved your financial challenges. Burnout and a lack a fulfilment is the evidence of being off purpose. Much of your behaviour is driven by the need to be approved of by others. You are attached to your possessions and consequently have too much. And the list goes on.
Your narrative, which was moulded through your early childhood, has established unconscious needs and desires. How you then spend your time, your money and your talent is an attempt to have those needs and desires fulfilled. That prioritising of how you spend your resources establishes what you value, of which most people are unaware. Your whole of life experience is the sum expression that arise from those values. How you think, how you act, what you believe, what you expect, how you relate to others, how you see yourself, is all determined by what you desire and value. And for many of you, the knowledge of that remains hidden.
Only when you can clearly identify what that core desire is, can you be free of it. You can’t change what you can’t see. And from the perspective of EAP, sustainably changing what you desire and value can only happen through being pragmatically lazy, or what Phil called situational awareness. At EAP, we are experts at helping you become aware, pragmatically lazy. In scientific vernacular, it’s creating change through new neural programming, and that’s another whole perspective on pragmatic laziness.
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