The Sour Lemon

“The quality of the table can’t be separated from the table maker.“  
– Vernon Howard

A spiritual guide taught their class, “If you hand someone a sour lemon and tell them its sourness lies outside the lemon they will think you are joking. Yet, with a perfectly straight face, that same person will tell you that their sour life is caused by external events.

You want to change your life without changing yourself. Impossible. You are your life. You and your life are the very same thing. 

This is similar to the capacity of soil to support life. Soil itself is alive, and while healthy soil produces abundant, rich and nutritious crops, inferior soil produces lackluster, sparse harvests devoid of nutrition. The nature of the soil and the nature of the crops cannot be separated. Neither can your nature be separated from the consequences of that nature. Self-change alone creates life change.”

Right now, reflect on the following liberating facts:

  • External events have no power over you
  • You and your life are one and the same
  • Only self-change creates life change

And, it gets better. Self-change is largely a process of subtracting the unnatural and artificial. 

This process starts with detection. Seek to detect artificiality, such as mechanical talking, strained behavior, pretense and facade.

When you subtract the artificial, the natural will remain.

For example, the next time you detect disappointment, ask why your mind chose the reaction of disappointment. Disappointment is an unconsciously adopted and self-harming form of punishment designed to protect you against disappointment. Do you see the absurdity and impossibility in that? Instead, choose to understand—for true understanding subtracts disappointment from your life.

See that it is cosmic law that one must pay for anything truly valuable.

The bait in a trap is always free.

Payment might consist of detecting an uncomfortable truth, reflecting deeply on a new idea, changing your thinking, giving up self-pity or doing the inner work that subtracts disappointment from your life.

Better yet, payment always means giving up something harmful to you. The game is rigged in your favor!

So, to change your life, invest in self-change. No investment will yield higher returns.

Empty your treasure chest of stones and it will be filled with jewels.” – Vernon Howard

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