Plant seeds of change, then let change happen

A concept I keep seeing coming up in self-development is this delay effect, where we can work really hard on something, put in a lot of effort, and then we notice absolutely no change.
Everything just seems to plateau, seems to be going nowhere, and then suddenly, at some point, you wake up and feel a little bit different.
Somehow the change is kind of baked in or built itself into us, but there’s a delay before we see the results.
So we put in this effort: it’s almost like we’re planting seeds, and these plants take time to grow until they can be harvested with the results.
And the same thing for good or bad actions.
If we waste our time or do bad things, then that’s like planting a seed where it often doesn’t lead to any apparent effects right away, maybe even for a long time, but somehow the plant is growing, and one day we wake up and maybe find ourselves in a slightly worse state because of the bad decisions that we made.
So this can, of course, go either way.
It can lead to a false sense of security if we’re doing bad things and saying, “Well, no, there’s really no problem, everything seems fine, so I’m not worried about anything”, until suddenly we’re hit by what appears to be a surprise and “Oh, my life’s gotten worse now.
Isn’t that unfortunate? Isn’t that my bad luck? Things have taken a turn for the worse.” But in some cases, it might be because the things that we did in the past have finally matured, the plants have grown up into trees, perhaps, and now we’re experiencing these effects.
Because of the delay, we may not make the connection with those initial seeds we planted.
We can just be dropping seeds without even realizing it, and over time they can grow into the largest of plants.
So when it comes to the changes that we make to improve ourselves, it can be the same thing.
We can be diligently planting seeds and have nothing to show for it, and this can be very frustrating.
It’s a challenge to maintain the motivation, maintain the faith, the feeling that it’s worthwhile, when we’re not seeing any results.
But at the same time, this can also be a comfort to us when we’re not feeling good.
It’s like that idea of things catching up with you.
Your activities will, in one way or another, catch up with you.
It could be in a matter of weeks and it could be in a matter of years, some of these gestation times for these seeds to grow.
Now, it’s the opposite when doing good actions, that we can be in this sort of dormant, neutral feeling, where we’re not feeling the the benefits of the good actions, but if we’ve put in the time and put in the effort to make good actions, then we know that good things are coming.
We can have a certain faith, and relax into that faith, that by doing these good actions, good things will come.
And so, when we’re feeling like things are not going great, the answer is still to do good actions, which over time will lead to making things better.
It’s sometimes interpreted as being too much disconnected from feelings, and cutting off from feelings, but it’s not exactly that.
It’s not that you just cut off feeling, but it’s being willing to do the work whether or not you feel like doing the work, because of the belief that it will lead to future benefit.
Whereas if we only work from our feelings, then we will only work on things that have immediate benefit.
We cannot work on things that have future benefit, unless we are willing to have some kind of waiting, some kind of belief that we can have no reward now, but still be rewarded later.
But if we can have that belief, if we can have the patience and the trust and the faith to believe that these seeds that we’re planting now will grow in the future, then we are able to plant those seeds even happily.
It can even have its own kind of happiness.
Even on those days when it feels like there’s no reward for our efforts, there’s a joy that comes from believing that the path is good.
This is a good path.
In time, continuing to do these good things, good things will come.
So the same delay and slowness that can lead to impatience and frustration when we’re waiting for good things, it can also be a comfort when we are in a bad situation, in a bad feeling, that as we continue to do good work to the best of our ability, continue to try to improve ourselves, continue to take the best action that we are able to discern and choose to do, then it’s possible, even on those days when things aren’t feeling good, to relax into that sense, and think about the plants that are growing, think about the seeds that have been planted, are continuing to be planted, and that they are growing.
And know that if you take good action, in time good results will arise, and you will harvest the fruit of good results.

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