Article also published on Collective-Evolution
“Become totally empty. Let your heart be at peace. Amidst the rest of the world’s comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
STOP WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. JUST OBSERVE. Observe everything around you. You might be at home, on a bus, travelling, on holidays, in a park, it doesn’t matter. Just notice the things around you. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING. From the light, the smells, the movement of people, the sound of the traffic, the breeze, plants, insects…Nothing will ever be the same again as that moment you just experienced. You may be looking at a brick wall inside a prison cell. That has changed, new bacteria, dust and light has moved across that wall. You may not be able to see it but it has changed and will never be the same again. There is no thing that stays the same, nothing. The sooner we realise this, the sooner we will be free from the pressures we place upon ourselves, our loved ones and everything that comes into our life. There is only one constant in life and that is change.
When we understand and accept that nothing is permanent, our wisdom grows. This allows us to let go of everything, enjoy life and be free. We soon discover that nothing we want can give us lasting satisfaction, everything is in a state of flux and nothing stays the same. Whatever we crave or desire, the finest foods, the greatest sensory pleasure, we know that nothing in the universe can give us lasting pleasure, nothing. All will eventually come and go. Deep down we all know this but we struggle with this truth for most of our lives. Some days we are happy and some days we are unhappy. We are in a constant sphere of change. The more we fight this, the more misery it will cause us.
In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu articulates how we should live like water, which is soft, flowing, yielding, yet strong and hard. Over time water has a persistent and wearing nature, yet in the hand it is soft, forgiving and flexible. Water is in effect indestructible, it cannot be broken or destroyed, it merely changes form. Lao Tzu suggests we should emulate water and be open to change and try to be patient as opposed to living with rigidity and control. Only by living a life of flexibility can we let go of all that binds us, releasing our clinging to a rigid and controlled life. The more we want something, the more it seems to elude us. That is why we must adhere to what Lao Tzu and other great masters have taught. We must be aware of change, but not be a slave to it.
“The harder you try to change, the worse it can get: Does this mean a certain amount of passivity is right? Yes, the more you resist something, the greater the power you give it. That’s the meaning I think of in Jesus’ words “when someone strikes you on the right cheek, give them you’re left as well.” You always empower the demons you fight. If you flow with the enemy you overcome the enemy.” – Anthony De Mello
Let the universe, or our higher consciousness, take us in the right direction. Let it guide us to our destiny and happiness. As long as we are clear about what our inner self wants to be and we are open to new alternatives, then everything will be taken care of.
“Keep constantly in mind how many things you yourself have witnessed change already. The universe is change, life is understanding.” – Marcus Aurelius
Why Is It Difficult To Change?
Is it because we are always searching for a state of permanence? We want things to stay the same, we want certainty. We want good things to last forever and painful things to end quickly. We have created institutions that help us to deal with this fear (economic, social, political and religious) these help us maintain our security and safety. Our fear of loss seeps through and we are scared that everything we have accumulated- jobs, homes, possessions, accomplishments, may all be lost.
In reality all we really have is our consciousness; everything else changes. This fear of loss, greed and control has changed the way we live and has made many of us creatures of compulsion, living for external gratification as opposed to internal mastery. The ego mind fears change. It fears living in an insecure impermanent world. So what does it do? It creates the me, the mine, the separateness which exists in all our beliefs and ideas. Much of our current global problems are a function of this ego mind. This creation of the ego brings with it a false security, luring us to a place where we think we are safe. In reality this causes us to live in constant fear, dissolution, isolation and separation from others.
One of the contributing reasons why we find it so hard to accept change is because people have a preoccupation with time, more specifically the past and the future. The more we focus on the future and the past, the more we miss out on the present moment.
Have you ever planned a holiday or some event and you are looking forward to it immensely, so much that it consumes your thoughts every day leading up to it? How much time have you spent daydreaming or wishing time away until the event takes place? You are living in the future, more precisely an illusion of the future. On the flip side how much time do you spend reminiscing about the past, the way things were? Why do we do this? Are we trying to escape our current reality, work, relationships, loneliness and isolation? Why escape the present moment, there is so much it has to offer! Why do we become stuck in our ‘perceived’ reality? Don’t we see a solution? Are we scared to make a difference and get out of our comfort zone?
We have the resources but we’re too scared, lazy, tired or lacking motivation to change. So we sit there and blame others, the government, society, loved ones or our partner. We blame everyone and everything so we don’t have to face up to the reality that we are responsible for our situation. We are the ones who must change, no one else. We can control only one thing, ourselves. We must realise that we have the power to make things happen and use the present moment to bring awareness to our actions. To change we must let go of past and future thought. Our thoughts of the past and potential future are constraints of our mind.
How To Make Changes
“Any action is better than no action, especially if you are stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake at least you learn something in which case it is no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.” – Eckhart Tolle
Action is the only way forward, especially if you find yourself in an unhappy circumstance. By doing nothing you are merely prolonging your agony, frustration, sadness and limiting your existence. If you know you have to make a change then you have to face your fear head on. By understanding our fear and dealing with it we are better placed to make changes. All change involves some conflict or resistance in the psychological, emotional and spiritual realms. To make change we must understand why we want to change and the underlying motive for doing so. It must be for the better so we can evolve and develop into more balanced and enlightened human beings.
William Bridges wrote an interesting book in 1980 which gives a concise look at how we can handle and cope with personal change. The book is called, ‘Transitions- Making Sense of Life’s Changes.’ Bridges writes that there are three stages to change. The first being Endings – to have new beginnings, we must understand and acknowledge that some things end. The Neutral Zone – this is the time where you look forward and consider new opportunities. Bridges suggests that during this phase of change we need time to be alone. We need to take notice of where our inner being is directing us. Thoughts and dreams are important to take note of during this period as these help guide us to new beginnings. He also suggests we spend time in nature and forget the distractions of life. During this period we should take the time to discover what we really want from life, our true purpose for living. Finally after we have taken time out to reflect and think, we are ready for new beginnings. Bridges suggests that “opportunities will appear” once we are open to new ideas. Things may not change for the better immediately. He believes time will take care of that, we just have to be patient and keep a positive, energetic outlook.
Transition or change is a cyclical process, whose ultimate reward is a sense of direction much clearer than we had previously. There are moments in life that act as catalysts for change and growth. They may come while sitting by a mountain stream, they may come while riding a bus to work or while experiencing something new and profound. For most, these ‘peak’ moments of awareness come after years of experience or a life changing event. In these fleeting moments we experience a vision and our purpose of life becomes clear. Often we do not act on these divine instincts and simply continue on our daily grind. It is not until we get a sudden jolt that things change. An accident, a divorce, the death of a loved one or something radical that changes our lives forever can shock us into making changes. These moments are crucial to our development and should be acted upon, or at very least, be the start of a period of change.
Don’t wait for a sudden jolt to help you change. We have the ability and power to make changes. Embrace change and new beginnings, don’t cling to old ideologies, beliefs, feelings or events. For change will always bring new experiences, new insights and increase our awareness and development as human beings.
Cover Image: Robert Couse-Baker flickr