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To Repeat is Human, To Transform Divine

Posted May 06 2011 10:56am

by Barbara Berkeley, MD

With the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden, American unity is back at its peak.  As in the days after 911 we are all coming together.  Republicans are not only talking to Democrats, they are actually complementing them.  All of this congeniality is fueling speculation that perhaps this time,  maybe this time, things will change and petty political bickering will cease. 

We should know better.

Human beings are nothing if not tribal.  Give us a reason to band together against a common enemy and we will.  Right now, that enemy is Al Qaeda and the good guys are us, party politics aside.  But in a few weeks, we will divide into smaller groups and the Dems will vilify the Republicans once again.  We do this all the time.  In fact, endlessly.  Cleveland against Pittsburgh.  My little tennis club against the one across town.  Your son's T-Ball league against those awful cheaters from the other division.

When you think about it, human beings have an unfortunate lack of imagination and insight.  We have a few narratives in our lives.  We repeat them over and over, often learning nothing.  This is the essence of being human and the tragedy of history.

A friend of mine was complaining to me just the other day about the dynamics in her company.  That guy that always claims that he's overworked and underappreciated was sending out inflammatory emails yet again. Her boss was undermining her as she had done many times in the past.  A co-worker who liked stealing ideas and taking credit for them was at it again.  I told her that her business reminded me of a barnyard where each animal could only make one sound.  The cow moos, the sheep baas and the pig oinks.  They don't have another script.  In our human version of Animal Farm, it's often the same.

There's a reason that people relate to the myth of Sisyphus the unfortunate Greek who was condemned to roll a boulder up a mountain for all eternity, only to have it fall back to the bottom each time.  Sisyphus is the ultimate expression of our inability to change; of the human chains that bind.

But within this paradigm is another truth.  Great moments are made when people leap beyond the expected.  Great art comes from seeing the world in a way that it hasn't been seen before.  Great political change comes from those who are able to avoid repeating the cycles that have mired us in the past.  Great science comes from those who think in a completely different way.  We call these people "visionaries", because they have sight that sees into a different human dimension,  Another way to say this is that they think "out of the box", implying that the rest of us are sitting inside that box most of the time.

For the past month, I have been writing about transformation and transformation, by its very nature,is the ultimate breaking of the mold.  If you want to accomplish change in your life, if you want to eat differently, become a different size, reclaim health, make a permanent u turn on your road, the key is in bold vision.  Your default patterns will just return you to a Sisyphysean fate.  You will need to harness those forces that defy human predictability.  As I've said many times before, this is not an easy task, but it's fun, fascinating and fabulously worthwhile.  So dare to be great by breaking old patterns and imagining a life that is utterly different than the one you've endlessly repeated.  Set your sights on a divine future because amazing change is possible for each one of us if we only see clearly.













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