Renewing yourself either seems very hard to do or the most natural thing in the world. Your personal choices are what make the difference. The world is recovering from a pandemic, and there is talk everywhere about a reset. It would be a shame to reset to the old rather than evolving into the new.
Evolution is the opposite of being stuck or even moving backward. Your body is already immersed in the natural scheme of renewal. Every cell in your body will divide and produce a new cell around fifty times in the natural course of things. Every breath you take pours a surge of new oxygen molecules into your bloodstream.
The catch is renewing yourself on the inside. That’s where people get stuck in the “same old, same old.” We sink into habit and routine that is hard to escape. Old conditioning dictates our response to new situations. There’s a persistent belief that people never really change. There’s a mismatch between the body’s effortless renewal and the mind’s stuckness.
You can make yourself new again by doing just one thing. Make renewal your purpose every day. There are five key steps.
- Be present
- Stop acting unconsciously
- Let the healing begin
- Be your own healer
- Embrace the voyage of discovery
Each of these steps helps to get you unstuck and makes renewal happen every day. Let’s go into each step.
Everyone has heard about the desirability of living in the present, but by itself, the present moment is nothing but a fleeting instant. It has no power or insight to offer by itself. The “power of now” is created by your state of awareness. If you are open, alert, free of the burdens of the past, centered and relaxed in your body, and unstressed, you will be present. Only then does the power of now unfold, because it unfolds nowhere but in you.
Stop acting unconsciously
The obstacles to being present are unconscious forces that are familiar to everyone. We are close-minded instead of open-minded, thanks to ingrained beliefs and stubborn opinions. We react dully as an adaptation to the boring routine of daily life. The burden of past hurts and wounds makes us afraid to live outside the box. Stress constantly bombards us, usually at a low level we’ve become used to, and this creates tension in mind and body.
As you can see, these unconscious forces are the exact opposite of what it means to be present. You have to consciously stop letting these forces control you.
Let the healing begin
No one is totally unconscious, even though most people’s lives are dominated by unconscious forces. If this wasn’t true, we’d all be aware and awake, as we once were in childhood. But life has taken its toll, and everyone needs to be healed. Being present happens on the inside, and so does healing.
It’s unfortunate that people respond to their inner wounds mostly by denial, escape, distraction, and going numb. They act in such a way that the unconscious part of their lives actually increases over time.
In reality, your mind can naturally heal itself, in union with your body’s natural healing response. “Time heals all wounds” actually means that the mind heals its wounds over time. But being stuck prevents this natural healing response. You have to find a way to access it and promote the healing your mind wants to do of its own accord.
Be your own healer
Inner healing is unique, because you are both the healer and the healed. Your primary medicine is awareness. Awareness is always present. If you set aside and let it flow naturally, it has the ability to clear away darkness, balance the emotions, sweep away the residues of the past, and make every moment new. All that’s really needed is intention and attention. Have the intention to be healed, then put your attention on it.
There are two ways to put your attention on healing. The first way is to catch yourself whenever you realize that you are increasing the stress in your life, repeating an old habit, acting unconsciously, or checking out mentally. As soon as you catch yourself in any of these circumstances, the second way of paying attention is needed.
The second way is to go beyond the constant activity of the mind through meditation, yoga, contemplation, or reflection. Just beneath the surface, your awareness is already calm, quiet, and centered. Go there, and that is enough to bring your attention to the level where healing occurs. For some people, a regular program of meditation or yoga class is within reach, but everyone can take time simply to be more centered and quiet inside. Taking a few minutes of downtime when you need it, preferably as soon as you notice that you are upset, distracted, or stressed, is the key.
Embrace the voyage of discovery
When you cut yourself and the wound heals, you go about your life the way you always do. Inner healing doesn’t work that way. Every step of healing opens up a new possibility. If you are fully present, every day is a new world. Nothing is old and stale except that we make it so. Your renewal makes everything around you new; it prepares you for a voyage of discovery. In childhood, you didn’t have to think about embracing the process of discovery. Wonder and curiosity come naturally to the youngest child. Innocence is where we all began.
As an adult, you need to reach the state that the poet William Blake called “organized innocence.” Why organized? Because instead of being naively innocent like a child, you live from the level of awareness that delivers experiences of love, creativity, compassion, truth, beauty, bliss, and wonder not as fleeting glimpses but as the foundation of your life. At the deepest level of your awareness, creative intelligence organizes all of these things and brings them to you far beyond the ability of your thinking mind.
I’ve presented this program for renewal in separate steps, but in reality, they all hang together. Having the intention to embrace the new makes all the rest unfold. Being present and living every day as a new world is how you were designed to exist. No truth is more precious or more worth pursuing.