In our “civilized” society, we place a ridiculous value on consistency.
Usually, people are so proud of being consistent! They boast about having woken up at the same time for the past 30 years; they boast about how they have been communists or atheists or whatever since their school days.
Consistent people are the most boring people! When someone is always consistent, it can mean only one of two things:
(a) He was born perfect, and doesn’t need to change a single thing about himself throughout his life,
or (b) He is clinging to his old ideas, out of pride or fear.
I don’t think that anyone can claim to be already perfect? So the only other reason would be, the fear to change.
Habits represent the familiar, the accepted patterns of life. Habits symbolize security. That’s why we cling to our habits for dear life!
I ask you, even a baby is not afraid of taking new steps, so why are you?
As we grow older, we tend to resist change more and more. We feel threatened by change, because it goes against our solid ideas of right and wrong, or what works and what doesn’t work for us. We forget that Life is essentially non-paradoxical. We find it paradoxical only when we compare today to what we learnt yesterday, or to what we plan for tomorrow. It is only when we try to confine a situation to our own expectations that we see contradictions.
A small story:
In a village, there lived two Sadhus (holy men). One of them was very proud of his knowledge of the scriptures and logic. He was forever spouting philosophy. The other was a simple, happy man who mingled with the villages and lived a life of peace.
One day, the two met on the road leading to the market.
“Where are you headed?” asked the first sadhu, hoping to start a philosophical debate.
“Where my feet lead me!” replied the other joyfully.
The first sadhu was stumped. What did he mean by that? Was he presenting him with a philosophical riddle? How to answer him? He went home and spent the whole day pondering the meaning of the Sadhu’s statement.
The next day, he triumphantly approached the other Sadhu on the same road.
“Where are you headed?” he repeated.
“Where the wind takes me!” replied the other sweetly.
This is too much! The first Sadhu was dismayed. He had such a perfectly planned counter-argument, and now the other had changed his statement! So he went back and prepared himself to face this new challenge.
The third day, he waylaid the other Sadhu and repeated the question.
“Where are you headed?”
“Oh, just to the market, to get some vegetables!”, replied the other Sadhu laughing.
Such a life! In life, the answers change every day. When change is the only reality of life, how can you plan ahead?