Self-transformation is effecting positive personal change in a conscious and deliberate way. When we are dissatisfied with our own conduct and responses to life, a desire to do better and be better comes to mind.
Self-transformation is also spiritual growth. The 10 keys to self-transformation have come from the ancient scripture known as the Srimad Bhagavatam. Although it is considered a sacred book of the Hindus, its teachings are universal.
Spiritual master, Swami Tejomayananda, has written a little booklet on these 10 keys called, “Transformation Technology.” This article is based on his teachings.
Here are the 10 aspects of our lives which we can improve to bring about self-transformation:
The 10 keys
- Literature: ”Literature” here refers to all that we read, listen to and watch. Our thoughts are shaped by our experiences and, to a great extent through what we take in from books, magazines, the TV, Internet and other media. We have to be more discerning in what we allow into our minds. Happy and positive inputs will make our minds happy and positive.
- Water: Aside from what we take into our minds, we need to be careful of what we take into our bodies. “Water” includes all that we drink and eat. As you know, our bodies are mostly water. Obviously then, drinking a good amount of clean water is a vital part of good health. We should also consume fresh vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds which are packed with nutrients and are alkaline in nature. Acidity in the body gives rise to many inflammatory conditions, contributes to weak joints, kidney problems, and is the perfect breeding ground for cancer cells.
- Company: We are very much influenced by the company that we keep. It is very important to keep the company of people who are on a similar path of personal growth, are positive, cheerful, honest, kind and respectful. When we associate with positive people, we tend to be positive too. The best company is the presence of noble, saintly people.
- Place: Our environment has an impact on our state of mind. If we are in a place that is clean, organized and well kept, we feel good. Think of how you felt when you walked into a dirty basement or garage, an unkempt home, or your teenager’s stuffy room littered with clothes and books. A clean workspace and home uplifts us and enables us to work with greater focus and mental clarity. Remember the old idiom: Cleanliness is next to godliness?
- Time: Swami Tejomayananda explains that it’s not about managing time, but managing ourselves given the time we have. This is self-discipline. We need to match the right type of activities with the appropriate time of day. For instance, early mornings are great for creative activities, problem solving, thinking and for doing meditation. It would be ideal if we could wake up early and do all our daily duties by the end of the workday. Then, we can wind down in the evenings and go to bed early at night.
- Actions: The ability to perform actions is a great blessing. Let us use this capacity wisely so that our actions will help us grow spiritually. We can do this by gradually cutting back on selfish actions and channeling our energies into doing our duties and working for the benefit of others.
- Birth: “Birth” here refers to our thoughts. Thoughts are constantly being born and dying away. We need to be vigilant of the type of thoughts that arise and choose the ones that are beneficial to us. We should not allow ourselves to identify with, and act on negative, fear-based thoughts. The next aspect will help us in keeping a close watch on our thoughts.
- Meditation: Meditation is a must for all spiritual seekers. It helps to bring detachment from the drama of our everyday lives. We do this by practicing how to observe our thoughts. Meditation also cultivates single-pointedness in the mind, which is a must to achieve any goal in life – worldly or spiritual.
- Mantra: A mantra is a word or a phrase that is repeated in the mind. It encourages and inspires us to think, speak and act in a higher, nobler way. You could chant a holy name of God or repeat an uplifting quotation such as: This too shall pass or, Divine wisdom is guiding me for my highest and best good.
- Habits: Whether habits are good or bad, we are responsible for creating them. When thoughts and actions are repeated over and over again, they become our habits. Cultivating positive habits promotes personal growth. Examples are: Choosing not to act when your mind is disturbed, speaking in a kind and pleasing manner, and always being truthful.
Some of these ten factors are easier to implement than others. But even if we start with just one or two and stick with them with conviction, we will be better equipped to start making changes in the other aspects.
To guarantee total self-transformation, however, all ten aspects have to be carefully nurtured everyday. Only then will the transformation be total and permanent. Then, it will impact not only our lives but the lives of people around us.
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