Our addictive programming - how we think the world should be - is what keeps us from fully experiencing and appreciating life. Like computers, or robots, the only way we improve things is by changing the inner programming, not the outer conditions. If we live in the world of “want” we will never have enough. People through-out history have had power, money, fame, etc., and yet they were not happy because they were always on the quest to get more of their addiction. This becomes a vicious cycle that leaves the person unfulfilled.
In, Your Life is a Gift, Ken Keyes Jr. believes that it is only by changing our consciousness,--by modifying our perception and motivations--that we will be free from the cycle and it is only then that will be able to enjoy life to the fullest. Our addictions, defined as, “…any demand or expectation that you place upon yourself, another person, or a situation in your life which can AUTOMATICALLY trigger separating emotions,” must be transformed into preferences. In order to modify this “program of addiction” we can make use of the “12 Pathways” to help us emotionally accept the here and now. Once we accept what is, then we can go about transforming it.
Half of the book, the pages on the left-hand side, consists of drawings/cartoons that directly relate to the message that is being shared on the right-hand page. I find the drawings do add to the message by making the material more interesting and easier to retain. With the drawings, large font and wide margins, this book is a VERY fast read.
The fact that the book can be so quickly read, and the fact that it is written in a very easy to follow manner, creates the illusion that transforming our years/decades of programming is a “fait accompli.” It is not my place to say that the transformation must take a long time, for some people it might very well happen in a fraction of a second; however, I think it is important that people do not feel that they “failed’ in their transformation because the process took longer than the reader assumed it should. The Pathways, although crucial to the process, are not discussed at length, and I feel this omission is a potential hindrance to people who are not familiar with them. **(As a side note, Ken explicitly states that a more in-depth explanation of the “12 Pathways” is presented in his other book, How to Enjoy Your Life In spite of it All).
Towards the end of the book Ken shares the age-old adage that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and that “Reading this book is one more step.” I would say that this is a concise statement yet, I would add the caveat that some people might find this book to be only a baby-step.