This article is part of an ongoing series titled “Books that Changed My Life”. Autobiographical reviews of books that changed our lives for the better and sometimes for the worse.
“We do not open our heart and show it to just anyone. The same is true of our body. Our bodies have areas that we do not want anyone to touch or approach unless he or she is the one we respect, trust, and love the most. When we are approached casually or carelessly, with an attitude that is less than tender, we feel insulted in our body and soul.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
I believe that life is the product of our circumstances and conditioning. And sometimes, because of the circumstances of our lives, we need to be reconditioned. I experienced some very difficult things in my life. I made bad choices. I made wrong decisions. I’ve hurt and been hurt.
Reading this book made me realize two things: 1. I am not my circumstances. The mind is a powerful tool, and by training it, we can truly create the kind of environment we need to emotionally thrive. The mind is also so powerful, that by feeding it negativity, we can imprison ourselves. The thoughts we carry in our minds ultimately shape our actions and the way we proceed through life. If you believe that you are worthy, and deserving of all that is good, then act from that space and let that determine every decision you make for your life.
The second thing this book made me realize is: 2. By following the way of Christ, I have the ability to overcome any injustice. I have always believed in God and have, since I was 9, identified as Christian. It wasn’t until college, however, that I understood the difference between right-belief and right-action. Righteousness is more about the way we proceed through life than it is about how right we feel we are in any given circumstance. I will always have fears and make mistakes, because I am human. But by being a Christian and following the way of Christ, I don’t have to live a reactive life. I have the ability to plan life, create life, experience life, learn from life, process life, heal from life, and LIVE life. How I decide to live my life and what I decide to do with my life are determined by me. We each have the ability to imagine the kind of life we want to live and then pursue it. Similarly, we each have the ability to release the things, thoughts, people, and habits that do not ultimately serve our highest good.
I commit myself to good AND God. It is my desire to generate as much good as possible and if that means that I have to release the pains of my past, and heal, then so be it!
This is the meaning of true freedom…and who the Son makes free, is free indeed.