Why is change so difficult? We all promise that we will change, but will we? Statistics will say that we do not change. Look at the recidivism rate of alcoholics and gamblers. He or she may promise to stop his or her destructive behavior, but statistics will again show us that they will fail. So how do we change our behaviors when confronted with life’s challenges or temptations?
God tells us that there is fate that each of us carries with us. It is this fate that either presents to us as suffering or joy. This may explain why some people are inclined to become alcoholics and addicts, or why some people suffer. This may also explain why good people sometimes suffer. How do we make it possible to have only “Good” fate. God tells us to calm our minds, and ponder when confronted with challenges or temptations.
How do we calm our minds? God tells us to remove the thoughts of greed, arrogance, and self-love in order to eliminate “bad” fate. God also tells us that this is difficult to accomplish. But by acknowledging and not acting on these evil thoughts, we can eventually eliminate these thoughts from our minds. It is these evil thoughts that surround the pure soul (heart), and prevent it from radiating joy in our lives. It is these evil thoughts that the soul carries, that become our fate.
But negative fate is not hopeless. On the contrary, it gives us opportunities to purify our minds. It is our actions upon facing these confrontations that prove our intent. In the Book of Prophecy (Ofudesaki), God tells us that he does not want our apologies; it is to our positive actions that God accepts. It is these repeated challenges and temptations (fate), which provide us the opportunity to remove evil from our minds. It is the calming of our minds, and not acting on our evil thoughts that will eventually eliminate these thoughts from our minds. When this happens, our souls become detached from the negative fate (evil thoughts), and radiate only joy.
It is this soul (heart) which is not identifiable in our physical bodies that we claim to carry our negative thoughts (fate). Like the DNA of our genes, it appears to carry information that will affect our future. But unlike the immutable development of our genes, we can change our fate by changing our thoughts. We can do this by calming our minds and pondering.