Unwavering effort is the requirement of transformation. There are no days off. It’s like exercise. You want to look in a mirror and see something else, you’ve got to work hard for it. Unwavering effort is a requirement for transformation.
Praying, meditating, volunteering, they’re all great pursuits, 100 percent, I’m not saying they’re not, they are, but they are not alone going to transform us. They’re tools that help, but it’s more than that.
My mantra is I would rather have the pain of discipline than the pain of regret.
I’d like to share a cute story, it’s called Lessons of the Clown Suit, and it’s about making yourself uncomfortable.
“A famous kabbalist was out walking one day when he turned to his companion and said, “The wonderful smell of the Garden of Eden is coming from this house, let’s investigate.” They went inside the house. The kabbalist explained to the owner why they had stopped and asked if they could look around to discover what was producing such an intoxicating smell. The man agreed, delighted to receive two such renowned sages.
The kabbalists and the others walked from room to room, eventually reaching the man’s bedroom. The kabbalist went into the closet and asked to look inside. Found hidden way back behind shoes and boxes was a clown suit. The kabbalist picked up the suit and announced, “This is the source of the fragrance of the Garden of Eden that fills this house and even the street outside. Sir, would you be so kind as to tell us the story of this costume?”
The man went red in the face. “I really wish you hadn’t brought this up”, he said, “I’ve been trying to forget about it for a long time, but I’ll tell you the story. A few years ago one of the townspeople came to me desperate for some money to help him breathe a little while he paid off some debts. I told him I would do everything I could. Since I had little money of my own at the time, I knocked on all the doors in my neighborhood and asked for money to help a man in such a retched situation. Very few of my neighbors contributed anything and at the end of 6 or 7 hours of traveling from house to house I had barely scraped up any money at all.
It was now late in the evening and I was quite weary. I walked into the local tavern for some refreshments wondering what more I could do to help the poor man. Despondent, I looked in my purse, but there wasn’t even enough to make a dent in his debts. And at the next table a group of wealthy men were laughing and slapping one another on the back, they were quite drunk evidently. One of them leaned over to me, a strong smell of beer on his breath, and asked, ‘why are you looking so glum?’ I told him the whole story and he said, ‘I have an idea, I’ll give you the money, but you have to do something for me. I have this clown suit and I want you to put it on and walk with me through the town, what a hoot that will be.’ I looked at him aghast. ‘But it’s after midnight I stammered, we’ll wake everyone up.’ The man roared with laughter. ‘That’s the whole point’, he said.
Well the streets of our town are more like alleyways than streets and the townsfolk all like to keep their bedroom windows open at night. It was clear that we were about to start a riot. I thought that if I was able to rush through the town quickly enough to avoid being lynched, perhaps it wouldn’t be such a big price to pay to get the money I needed. I finally looked up at the man and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’
What I hadn’t bargained for was that the man was going to bring all of his drinking companions to join the fun. So there we were parading through town, 30 drunks singing and screaming and me out in front in the clown suit, hoping the earth would open and swallow me up.
Lights went on everywhere, irate men and women in their night clothes looked out their windows and shouted obscenities at us. More than a few emptied their chamber pots. This went on for over an hour, by which time there wasn’t a man, woman or child in the town who hadn’t witnessed my utter disgrace.
Finally the drunks had had enough, the man paid me my money, and I rushed home, my face burning with shame. I threw the clown suit in the back of my closet and did everything I could to forget that night, the worst I had ever had.’
When the man had finished his story, the kabbalists looked at him with bright eyes. “That explains why this extraordinary fragrance was coming from your closet”, he said. “Your sharing action shattered your ego so completely that a tremendous amount of Light was revealed. Indeed, so powerful is the protection, that even after your death it will continue. Tell your family to bury you in this suit when you die, because it will give you an immediate admission to the Garden of Eden.”
The Creator intends for each of us to be an active participant in seeking transformation.
Write down what can you do to make yourself uncomfortable, not for its own sake, but in order to become the person you are supposed to be.