In this blog, I hope to not only to search for the deeper truth behind the appearances of current events, but also to pursue the idea that personal transformation and spiritual development, person by person, are essential for there to be any hope of turning around the deterioration of our society as a whole.
The story of Arthur Boorman, a man with a lot of serious health issues who changed his life in a few months with the help of an unconventional yoga instructor, is a wonderful example of this. His story is incredibly inspirational in all the best ways. Arthur shows us:
- that it is possible for ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things;
- you can overcome the most difficult obstacles, and you can exceed what you think of as your limitations;
- hard work and determination are essential;
But there is more to this. There are lessons that go much deeper, and things for all of us to seriously take to heart.
Did you have a moment when you watched Arthur's story where you thought about saying to a loved one or friend, "Look, see, Arthur did it, what's your problem?"
Sounds un-compassionate and judgmental, and it is. Yet people respond this way all the time: "I choose to eat healthy. What's your problem?" "Why don't you just exercise your free will like I did, and choose to quit smoking/drinking/eating junk food/watching the crap on TV?"
This kind of response misses the critical point that changing behaviors of a lifetime is often incredibly difficult, especially when resisted by the pressures of lifelong habits and addictions, poor self-esteem and other emotional issues, poor education, financial difficulties, as well as the influence of family, community, culture, media and commercial psychological warfare.
Arthur's story teaches us another whole set of lessons. Look at what happened:
- Arthur realized he needed to change.
- He realized he couldn't do it alone, he needed help,
- He reached out, searched and found help.
- He accepted the help that awakened him to his own sense of personal power, and inspired him to do the work he needed to do to revitalize his health.
The steps he took afterwards are also very important. When he appeared in this and other videos, he sent some vital messages:
- he expressed his gratitude for the help he got;
- he turned it around to help others by inspiring them with his story.
We all need to hear this, because each of us may some day find ourselves on either side of this situation: we may be the one who needs help, or we may be the one who can offer it.
Arthur is very strong and courageous; he struggled and worked incredibly hard. But part of his strength was in opening himself up to being helped, overcoming fear, isolation and feeling hopelessly stuck in his troubles. It also takes strength to change your priorities in life, which Arthur had to do. On his testimonial page at the DDP Yoga website, he talks about realizing he had to change his eating habits, and says, "I was communicating to my wife and kids –the people I love the most in the world – that I wanted that pizza more than I wanted the years that I would not be able to spend with them."
One of the hardest things about making big changes is distancing yourself from the foods, places, activities and especially people who are not aligned with your new priorities. But Arthur's experience shows that if you are open to it and you ask for it, you will find there are people out there who are ready and willing to help empower you to be the most happy, healthy and awakened person you can be. He also shows that if you think about it, you could be that person for somebody else.
One of those people is Crystal, who has had her own experience with overcoming many serious health issues. Her journey of restoring herself to vibrant good health has led her to create an incredible website/blog, The Queen's Table:
In it, she provides a huge resource library of references to books, videos, websites and people that were helpful to her in her own efforts. She is also full of compassion and understanding that everyone is at a different stage of their own journey, and we all need inspiration and support.
Self-empowerment is a central concept here, but I think there should be no distinction between that and spiritual growth. Arthur did not become disdainful, condescending or otherwise egotistical as a result of his success, nor did Crystal. In fact, one frequently witnesses a huge expansion of peace, love, wisdom, humility, compassion, gratitude and forgiveness accompanying such personal transformations. It is all part of the same trip, and we are all taking the ride.
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