As a coach, sometimes I like to think I work like a chemist in a sense that I work with change; not just the physical, reactive part of change that manifests itself in our daily lives, but the change that happens on a subtle, energy level. I help clients manage the change that’s happening around them as well as the change that’s happening within them. Sometimes, this process is relatively simple, yet other times, it’s complicated and, at times, discouraging.
My clients use all sorts of analogies to express what’s happening inside of their minds and hearts. Some use the lost at sea analogy, some use the tunnel vision analogy, and so forth to explain the type of turbulence they feel inside when their lives are upside down and little seems to go their way. With gentle reworking of their behaviors and paradigms, we make a shift to a point where even if life’s challenges are tough and complicated, clients can still feel a sense of peace and calm.
I was meditating on this for a few weeks and then, in the middle of the night, I was awaken by the image of a Buddhist monk sitting meditation while burning alive. The thought came into my mind as clear as day, “If this guy can stay calm and in control of his physical and emotional state while he’s literally on fire, a state he put himself in no less, then why do we suppose we can’t do the same when we feel as our lives are burning to the ground?”
Can we apply the same kind of self-discipline, awareness, and consciousness to our spirit and our lives so that, despite the emotional and physical tests we endure, we can stay at peace? My clients turn to me to enforce the self-discipline, awareness, and consciousness that gives them the peace and the faith to continue on their paths of change – whether a career change, a relationship breakup, or some kind of life altering transition. Fortunately they eventually garner enough mastery of this skill set to manage their lives on their own, ultimately transformed as people.
While not everyone can have me as their coach, the message applies – try to find the kind of self-mastery so that even if your life is self-destructing you can stay at peace.
The following video captures the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk in protest of the repressive policies of the Catholic Diem regime that controlled the South Vietnamese government around the time this video was filmed in 1963.
Warning: Images are graphic