“Make of yourself a light,” said the Buddha, before he died.” Mary Oliver
Wanting people to change can become one of our biggest challenges as we transform our own life with diet, yoga and meditation practice. As we begin to experience many of the positive benefits that come along with this way of living, such as feeling lighter in our body, more relaxed, more mentally patient, aware and focused and much less anxious; we’ll want to share our experience with the people around us so they will feel as good as we do. Surprise! They not only don’t always want to hear about it, they may not want to make the sacrifice of time and effort to change their lives.
Don’t take it personally. Most importantly try not to preach or lecture about how they should “be.” After all, we got it, so they should be able to “get it” as well, right? Not always. Most people don’t like to be told what to do; they don’t like to hear that “if we don’t eat healthy and meditate you’re going to be lost.” Much as they might appreciate our concern for their well-being they prefer to do it their own way, and that usually means in their own time, if at all.
Naturally, this requires a bit of patience, since we want to share what is important in our lives with their mates and friends, those around us will notice the positive changes by the way we live your life. Actions speak louder than words. Toward the end of his life the Buddha told his followers to be a light by which others may see. He meant that by our actions and our deeds you will lead others to transform their lives.
So how do you get your message across?
Simply by living with a pure mind (what the Buddhist’s call parami, the yogis call the Yamas and Niyamas, and Christians call grace), you will attract those people who are ready to ask “what are you doing that gives you this calm and joy in your life?” Through the practice of yoga and meditation and the quality of our actions in daily living we can create a state of pure mind.
A scattered and distracted mind is careless and unable to see the results of its actions. It has no patience or tolerance for those it encounters from day to day. With yoga and meditation we cultivate insight awareness, which gives us a calm mind—one that’s able to see that all is changing and impermanent. There is nothing to cling to or grasp at; and as we experience the flow of life in and around us, we can let go and surrender to the immediate moment.
There is no way to push our loved ones towards this state of being. The journey must be theirs alone and may or may not unfold in time. Instead stay focused on our journey and invite them to explore what it is we are doing. If they choose to go their own way, refrain from judging, maintain our practice and continue peacefully on our path.