Nothing Changes, Everything Changes Book Review
Recently I read through the book ‘Nothing Changes, Everything Changes’. This is a very powerful book as it shows how a change in our perspective will affect how we view things and the way we interact with others and the world.
I would like to thank Pastor Niral for helping me with the editing and Beatrix for uploading up onto the blog for all of us here.
Everything that we go through in our minds are due to our past experiences. These experiences are reflected in the actions, behaviours or decisions that we make. These all depend on how we relate it back to what has happened to us in the past. In the book, there were a few points that stood out for me and I thought these are points for us to consider and think through.
1. The Perception of Our Own Reputation
This is something that we all have and through this perception of reputation we label ourselves. Typically, we are not willing to break free from these labels or reputation that we have given ourselves. This is due to our attachment and excuses that we make for ourselves, which in turn limits us from improving ourselves.
This occurs as we have mistaken mental projections due to our ignorance. We reinforce this perception of reputation that we have by repetitively engaging in our habituated actions or reaffirm it with excuses that we come up with for ourselves. What we are now is not what we are forever, as we will be able to better ourselves once we change our perception and perspective of who we are and what we can be.
2. Our Perception Towards Mistakes
No matter who we are, we are constantly making mistakes even if we try to avoid them. Yet, it is what we do after these mistakes have been made that determines the actual outcome. We can be grossed out by our mistakes or even be too embarrassed to look back and think about them again. If we think through the mistakes while we are engaging in mundane things in our daily lives, we are actually engaging in meditation. It is through analytical meditation – that concerted act of reflecting – that we are able change our mind and habits. This change happens because we are so disgusted with what we have done that it pushes us to transform, as we are facing the truth which we had tried to avoid for some time. This gives us the opportunity to face the ‘fear’ or ‘inner demon’ that we need to conquer to better ourselves.
Analytical meditation helps in stopping us from making these mistakes again in the future. Apart from that, it also helps us to catch our minds from wondering into the dark side that we have, preventing us from dwelling in the presenting, thinking of the future and to transform ourselves for the better.
It is through the understanding of our mistakes and transforming that into wisdom that benefits us in the long run.
3. Our Perspective Towards Motivation
No matter what we do in life, there is a motivation behind our actions. Being in different situations and times, we may carry out the same actions, yet the motivation behind the acts will be different. In the book, Rinpoche mentioned that there are times where we dress to impress to get a job, and there are times that we do the same to get a lover. The action is the same, yet our motivation is different.
So, with everything going on around us, this shows how our actions may be the same, but the motivation behind them are different. What motivates us are the same perspectives or projections that have been ingrained into us. For those people who constantly fail, it is due to these perspectives that they have for themselves and the world around us. If we change these perspectives then we can achieve our goals instead.
4. Our Perception of Tolerance
The ability of our tolerance towards others reflects our spiritual practice and inner transformation. It is through the practice of the Dharma that we can expand our minds and become tolerant, to bear things that we normally would not be able to. On the other hand it is also the practice and enhancement of our tolerance which is a measuring stick of our Dharma practice.
How we deal with what happens in our lives will not depend on others that are around us, but be based on our own perception and perspective that we have towards what is happening.
This ability of tolerance is a part of practicing the dharma through which we will be able to understand a different perspective from our normal one. This helps us see what is happening through the other party’s eyes. Hence, it helps us as we understand and are able to accept different actions since we understand that all actions have a motivation.
5. Focus on Transformation
It is said that by focusing on the mind and through the mind concentrating on ways to better ourselves, we will see transformation happen. With this transformation that occurs, many of our negative actions will change. Our speech will change and with that we will be able to transform other people’s minds with our speech. This is because our speech reflects the state of our mind, and through our speech we will be able to make others that are around us happier people as well.
In my opinion, this is very telling since how accepted we are among our peers depends on our speech and therefore our own minds. When we have transformed, we will be able to help those that are around us to achieve that very same happiness that we have. By making those that are around us happy without motive is also a way of practicing Dharma, it is a way that I believe all of us are able to do.
Being happy is a decision that we make within ourselves. It is through the application of the principles that we learn from the religion that we practice that we gain happiness. When we uphold and practice these principles, we will then be able to have a real and internal cause to be happy.
Happiness is not something that is vague and that we are unable to achieve. With effort we put into the application of the principles, we are able to reach that happiness that we all crave for. It is only a matter of if we are persistent with our self-growth on our spiritual paths. Therefore it is always important for us to reflect and check ourselves, in order to keep unhappiness at bay.
7. Gaining of Experiences
When we start to help the people around us in our dharma community, we are not only helping them, but we are learning the skills and knowledge to help others in the future. With the skills and knowledge that we learn from these people when we are helping them, we will learn similar skills which we can use to help others. This is because our experiences act as a platform for us to learn and expand our knowledge and ability. When another person that we know has a similar problem, we will know what to do to help them. This way we help them to find the happiness that they crave as well.
Through the power of love and care that we shower on those people that are hurt or in pain, we will help them to transform and give them benefit. When we do this, we will be happier in this life and our future lives. The reason for this is that we have found the key to happiness and also helped those that cross paths with us be happier.
8. Practicing What We Have Learnt
When we start to apply what we have learnt, we will be lighter. We will complain less as we are more accepting of what is happening to us or what is happening in other people’s lives. This happens because our projections on how things should be start to lessen. Through this we will be able to focus outward because we are able to see the reality of various situations and not be clouded by the mistaken perception that we used to have.
Thus, we become happier. This happiness is not be affected by what is going on in our surroundings, but is happiness based on our inner practices.
9. Change Starts From Us
We are not able to change the world physically, however, we will be able to change ourselves. We are able to change the way we think and act. When we change our perspective towards what is happening in the world, the world changes.
Through being honest and being humble, we are able to prevent harm that might occur, as this harm will be based upon our mistaken perception. It is not a matter of being right or wrong as this only adds to our perception. Change is achieved through a method for us to break projections and become mature, not letting things that happen around us affect us.
10. Perception of Confession
When we confess the actions that we have done, it is not about the reaction that we will receive from others but rather it is for us to face to our own negative emotions. Usually we would want others to accept us after what we have done, as though after our confession, everything is alright and back to normal. However, confession is a chance for us to face ourselves, giving us that opportunity to change for the better. It is through the knowledge of knowing ourselves better that we will be able to change ourselves for the future and not repeat the damage that we made in the past.
In conclusion, I would like to thank H.E. Tsem Rinpoche once again for providing all of us with this precious teaching that is contained in the book. Through the different explanations of how our minds are clouded, due to of our projections and perceptions. Knowing that I can be of such fixation, I now feel much lighter as I understand how everything changes when we change that single quality in us which is that strong projection we have on matters.
By not being bound down by the projection of our minds, we will be able to experience things in a different way that allows us to be a happier person and helping others that we love and care to be happy too.
This book has helped me to break certain perceptions that I had with regards to many situations around me. For example, how a parent should act, how people in the Dharma should be, how things should be done and how I should react to certain situations or people. It has allowed me to understand better that not everyone would have gone through what I went through and that no one lives by adhering to the perceptions that I have for them. It is not necessary for them to behave how I want them to, as what I think is not correct. This is because at the end of the day, my thoughts are based on projections that I have developed for specific people or situations.
With the understanding and application of not having strong perceptions of what is going on around us, it has allowed me to learn so much as I am no longer being tied down by my thoughts. It has opened up my mind to receive more and be able to reach out to more as I now know that our mind is able to receive and adapt better than what we think.
I recommend this book to everyone that are still in search of their slice of happiness in life. This book does not only apply to Buddhists, but it applies to all no matter if you are a Christian, Hindu, Jew, and so on.
For more interesting information:
- Nothing Changes Everything Changes
- Experiencing versus perception?
- Enjoying Music is negative?
- Fantasy vs Reality
- It’s an instant choice
- I can’t believe I found this
- 13 Delicious Reads from Kechara Media & Publications
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