The question of change has been one of the most important and valuable for me. Perhaps , it is for many. Why don’t we change ? I look around , I wonder why don’t they change ? I look inside at my shortcomings affecting my life negatively enough to be worried – then I wonder why don’t I change ?
Is it more a question of “don’t” or of “can’t” ? I wonder.
Whatever it is , to change is both one of the most difficult and most rewarding experience. My journey so far has bought me to my current understanding which is gonna disappoint most i.e.
We are what we are ! We can’t change ! We got to live with who we are.
Now I know that’s a tall claim and quite contradictory to what most of us believe or most of the so-called motivational marketeers make us believe.
To understand it , let’s get back to technology to draw a parallel. What constitutes this computer I am typing on right now, or the mobile on which perhaps you are reading this post ? Broadly –
- It has hardware – which is like our body ! This is quite dead by itself unless other layers wake it up.
- Second it has something like a Bootloader program or BIOS which is the first software , often embeded in hardware. When we boot or start a device, this bootloader wakes up , making alive the hardware. This bootloader will later transfer control to the device Operating System (OS) like Android or Windows or iOS. This is like our 98% of mind which we don’t use – call it subconcious or unconcious or whatever.
- On top of this boot loader is OS, which is the first quite visible part of a device and most accesible to us and to other devices. This OS comes with its own version, flavors , programs, apps, strengths and weaknesses. This is our concious mind. All the apps , programs are our experiences imprinted on our mind. Some apps can be removed, customized or updated. Some apps such as say clock , network , connectivity apps are often part of OS and can’t be easily changed or deleted.
- Lastly, there are apps, programs, wall papers, music files, video files etc.. the application layer which has the UI and is most accesible, most visible to others – easy and quick to change.
With this parallel, we can see that to change the upper most layer is easy and doable – the cosmetic changes. This is the case with us as well. We can change our outer layer – say appearance, hair style, religion, beliefs, associations to institutes, gurus, “isms” etc. This is easy to change and this is what we do most of the times and this is the place where people think – change is doable.
Just like the OS, the deeper layer -we have deep habbits, characteristics, desires , fears and whims ! We don’t know why we are like that , often difficult to clearly understand the reason behind that behavior – but we are that ! This is very difficult to change. Often , strong events like death of a loved one, a calamity, a war have power to alter this side in us. In mundane life, I would say it’s almost not possible to change it. You can see this in yourself and in people around you – they grow up, they change a lot, they switch jobs, marriages , countries – but something about them you’d know is still the same ! – that’s the OS.
Lastly, the bootloader in us – call it DNA , call it SWABHAV , call it SANSKAR – the deepest core is almost impossible to change.
Ofcourse , I am not talking of exceptions like one person transforming herself overnight totally or one event changing a man forever ! These are exceptions and they don’t make the rule. The part which we have to accept is that , NO – change is not easy , and if I may insist- change is almost impossible ! (PS : there are perhaps ways to change OS, bootloader as well ,but just like in case of devices, most of us don’t have access to it and it calls for a depth of understanding and work -that’s a topic for a different blog post)
Why I said while opening up this post hat we can’t change -who we are is pricesely because the true change is only when we change our core – our boot loader , or at least our OS -which doesn’t happen most of the times. We do make cosmetic changes in the application layer – we delete old apps, install new ones on the SAME OS, and assume a lot has changed. Looking deeply , one can realize nothing much has changed from the time we were 10 to the time we are 100 !
That’s the reason my friends, we don’t change because we can’t change.
Perhaps, this is making you feel sad. So, let me end this blog with the positive side of this story.
Perhaps there is a message nature or existence is giving us here –
Don’t try to change yourself, don’t try to change others. Accept , “what is” !
One thought on “Technical Guide to Nirvana #3 Can human beings really change themselves ?”
Beautifully crafted words. Very diverse concepts al synthesised together, and amazing vulnerability. Albeit, I look at your earnestness as a positive first step towards self realisation.
For a farmer, no 2 seeds are different. Some take time to sprout, like the Bamboo, and some germinate like the Okra seed within 5-7 days. It does not mean the Bamboo is less amazing than the Okra.
We all come with our own Sankars and life environments. As a seeker we are allowed to keep unfolding every layer of constraints: evolutionary (unconscious), mammalian (subconscious), and cultural & genetic (conscious).
Yes, these layers are complex, and the work is slow, and the results almost never seem apparent in a world moving at the speed of light. But that does not mean we are not “adapting”. The evolutionary pace is what it is, you cannot make it faster.
Super crucial to Enjoy the journey called Living Life.