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Resolutions

 

The evidence is there and it's not good. Most people break their New Year's resolutions. On average, people hold out 'til January 19, apparently although about 8% of people manage to abide by their self imposed strictures for a year or more. 

We make New Year's resolutions because there's bits of us we don't like and because we fall for one of the most common misperceptions that people  have about themselves: that our failings are just a matter of  will power and that if only we had a bit of discipline we could all smarten our individual and corporate  acts up. Bah humbug, I say. 

There's a French saying, tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner. To understand all is to forgive all.

This is profoundly true. Pretty much everything we do, we do for a reason. What trips us up is that a) our reasoning is faulty,  based as it is on inaccurate premises and incomplete information and b) our reasoning is usually completely invisible to us. So we notice that we ingest too many calories; or smoke too many roaches; or watch too much porn; or snap too easily at our children; and don't like the fact that we do so. So we gird up our loins and tell ourselves "only 1 gin a day!" or "I will take a deep breath and count to 10 before I blow my stack!" which we manage to do, on average until January 19th. And then we are back to our old behaviours, but with the added burden of self repugnance at our own weakness.

Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner.

What's required is the step most of us don't take because it doesn't occur to us to take it: to ask "Why?" Why do I do these things?  This is a line of reasoning which is easy to say, and hard to follow through on because it is slow, and because we are - all of us - so adept at lying to ourselves, and because the solutions offered involve us in real, deep change rather than the quick and easy fix of a New Year's resolution.

Do I want to change? Am I willing to allow the one who is drawing me out of nothingness to change me? Intention and consent are the two basic attitudes of all spiritual practice. Perhaps allowing these two a place in our souls will do more to make us the people we wish ourselves to be than a long list of hopeful, but hopeless resolutions.

Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner. The best place to start with our understanding, and therefore with our forgiveness, is with ourselves. 

Comments

Barbara withington said…
So well said as always Kelvin. Did not make any resolutions this year. Decidrd life is for getting out there and living not worrying.
Judy R-S said…
Judy R-S
Thanks Kelvin.
And something for you which I think is terrific
Https://www.journeywithjesus.net/essays/2856-Mary-s-song
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