We all have our own set of our “favorite” dysfunctions. Meaning, we all have areas in our lives where we allow a certain amount of unhealthiness because it works for us in one way or another. Sometimes this is a conscious action; like when I order pizza and milkshakes, I know for sure that, generally speaking, I’m making an unhealthy decision. It works for me because I know I’ll be at the gym first thing the next morning. Other times, it’s not a conscious action; like the subconscious patterns we have in relationships, our spending and saving habits, and the other subtle ways our past experiences invade our present.
Whether our dysfunctions are subconscious or conscious, whether they are because of childhood trauma, cultural norms, or something else – it doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is that they are weighing us down and preventing us from accessing our potential.
It is true that there very well may be aspects of your current circumstances that you did not create, problems in the psychology of those around you, and larger systemic issues at play. Those are the things that we “cannot change,” (as seen in the Serenity Prayer) at least, not until we have made certain pivotal changes in our own inner world. Your primary responsibility is to know thyself, as the ancient Greek aphorism says. Your work is related to becoming aware of your patterns, your habits, and your thoughts; and how they are manifesting in your life.
In the Eastern traditions, the concept of “being present” presents the perspective that you already have everything within you that you need in order to solve any kind of problem or work through any kind of challenge you are facing, in any given moment. The three Keys To Breakthrough below will work to the extent that you are able to be totally present with yourself. That is to say, you must be totally present with the full spectrum of dynamics occurring in your circumstances right now. That means in addition to seeing the challenges themselves and the problems that others are bringing to our experience, we must also swallow our pride and recognize the areas where we are being unreasonable, controlling, dismissive, disrespectful, unrealistic, entitled, small-minded, and selfish in the area of our challenges.
This is fundamental in becoming genuinely present. Being honest with yourself and with others is the first key to breakthrough because without sincere honesty, there can be no authentic assessment of things as they are, and therefore no sturdy foundation from which to build. Breakthrough is based on breaking through the glass ceiling of your own limitations; saturating a new level of understanding, and taking the self-initiatory step into the next season of your life. Honesty is the key that helps you maturely accept yourself as you are, and the circumstances as they are.
Give yourself the opportunity to consider how your decisions are affecting your future self and those around you. Observe your thoughts and emotions. Determine what needs to be communicated, and make the effort to communicate that effectively and with integrity.
The Second Key To Breakthrough is Consistency. This is the key that shows the universe and those around you that you are serious about achieving breakthrough. Consistency means showing up with honesty and integrity regularly, and unfailingly. This means going out of your way to follow through with your commitments and to prove that you are capable of taking on deeper, more fulfilling responsibilities. Breakthrough is all about taking on more impactful, creative roles in the world and in your own life. Breakthrough is the sign of initiation into a new way of being, a transcendental expansion of the awareness in such a way that the entire world undergoes complete transformation.
Find your core values and allow them to guide your decisions. Create regularity with your healthy habits and with your boundaries. Consistency, paired with honesty, builds trust and establishes to those around you that you are a healthy, safe person, who can be trusted with leadership and resources.
The Third Key To Breakthrough is Discipline. Traditionally, in our initiation to next levels of understanding and growth, there is the teacher, the coach, the mentor, the guru, or the initiator. To become a disciplined person is to become the “disciple” of your own inner guru. Your own soul is your first initiator. To activate discipline in your life is to allow your animal nature to bow down to the spiritual nature within you, allowing the Spirit within to mentor you, to coach you, and to teach you. Discipline is being a self-starter, its making the tough decision even when its not comfortable, its staying committed to your higher purpose, even in the face of seductive temptation.
Set yourself up for success. Identify the areas in your life where you are undisciplined and commit to gradual progress in these areas by establishing a routine that incorporates daily disciplined action. Allow this discipline to be both precise & fluid. Precise in your impeccability (without impeccability it is not discipline), but fluid in the recognition that you are growing and changing, with the goal of the discipline becoming deeper and more all-encompassing over time as you become stronger and more focused.
By bringing together the trifecta of honesty, consistency, and discipline, you invoke these archetypal energies that powerfully connect the dimension of ideas with the physical world. These are the three keys to breakthrough because they allow your deeper desires for spiritual fulfillment and enlightened awareness to break through the boundaries of the physical dimension, bringing higher ideals into the material world through you, through your words and your actions.
The challenges never stop. For every level of initiation you go through, there will be new dynamics that will manifest to test your integrity. This is the nature of the universe – constant progress, constant improvement, constant challenge, constant evolution.
When faced with challenges, relational breakdown, or the temptation of your favorite unhealthy behaviors – stop, get present, and allow your own inner guidance to consult with you. Open your mind to hearing that deeper wisdom from your spiritual nature and allow it to help guide your thoughts, words, and behaviors.
The world we live in together is in desperate need of the dreamers, the visionaries, and the spiritually-minded people of today to experience breakthrough, to move beyond the ennui and lethargy of depression and purposelessness and take real action. The universe has provided you with everything you could ever possibly need, and these rest in the area where you are most powerful: on the level of your own freewill in the present moment.
May you be inspired, and may the light of a promising future create breakthrough in your deepest, darkest, most challenging areas, and may it set you free.
BENJAMIN W. DECKER is a meditation teacher and social activist in Los Angeles. He is the Director of Education at The Institute For Transformational Thinking and author of Practical Meditation For Beginners and a founding teacher at Unplug Meditation, The DEN Meditation, and Wanderlust Hollywood. He is also the former Director of Partnerships at the humanitarian aid organization Generosity.org and former Director of Partnerships at the anti-human trafficking organization Unlikely Heroes.