Saturday, November 5, 2011

Change

'The only thing you can count on is change', someone once said to me. The truth of this statement has proved itself to me over the years.  Nothing stays the same. Our world is constantly changing both inside and out and the exterior changes, those that take place in the physical world outside of us, are plain to see and observe. A change of residence or job, a new car or just a different haircut. These are all clearly visible to us and those around us. But it's the internal process that preceded the external change that is significant.  What motivates us to make these changes?

Many of us drift through life without much idea of where we are going. We might live in the same town, do the same job, have the same friends and never really desire anything more, at least on the surface. Underneath we might have dreams and fantasies but we don't believe they are achievable so we never do anything to make them a reality. This is perhaps because our parents or society have taught us not to expect too much from life. Maybe they told us that good things only happen to those "other people" who have money, talent, education, luck and so on, and that success is unlikely to come our way because we are ordinary and unexceptional. Or perhaps we are afraid to try living our dreams for fear that we might fail or that people will laugh at us. We love our families and our friends and they love us, as long as we don't do anything differently. The minute we do something new to break out of the predictable routine of our lives, they can react negatively, ridiculing us because they are threatened by this new person we are becoming. They need us to stay the same because they fear, irrationally, that they will lose us or get left behind. Indeed they might be forced to confront their own unexpressed desires and unrealised dreams. And in turn we too hold our loved ones captive in the roles we have assigned them. We all cling on to the safety of the same job, the same relationships, the same town and resist making the changes that might bring us some relief from the monotony and without glimpsing the many possibilities for great fulfilment and happiness that are just around the corner. Something must trigger the process of change and that trigger can come from inside or outside. 

For some the impetus comes from the inside. They feel a build-up of tension and a growing dissatisfaction with their circumstances that, as time goes on, becomes more and more uncomfortable.  Often this will reach an unbearable degree before the individual realises they must do something to release the pressure.  One traditional way of dealing with this tension has been the use of drugs and alcohol as a temporary relief from the uncomfortable feelings they are experiencing. But this and other forms of escapism cannot provide a permanent solution. If they refuse to face their feelings, the build-up in tension can reach an explosive level and the energy can suddenly erupt in an uncontrolled way causing them to take drastic action that they might later regret, such as walking out of a job they've had for years or having an affair while they're still married to someone else. But eventually they must realise that they need to listen to the voice within and find a way to channel the intense emotions into positive action.   Fortunately for some, they recognise the signs earlier and are able to identify the reasons for their unhappiness and do something about it before it gets to such an extreme level.

Sometimes the catalyst for change comes from the outside, from an external event such as an accident or the loss of a loved one. These apparently negative events can cause us to take stock of our lives, to consider deeply what is truly important to us. If a person is injured in an accident, they are often compelled to assess what choices or behaviour brought them to that incident. They wonder if they could have done anything differently and if the answer is yes, they might decide from that point onwards to make changes to the way they live their lives. When someone loses a person close to them, through death or separation, they are forced to face the world without that beloved person and, although devastating at the beginning, later they are able to look at the world in a different way.  They discover they have the freedom to reinvent themselves and their lives, make new choices and find new ways to live.  

Infrequently, we meet someone who has a powerful effect on us. We feel a strong attraction towards them; perhaps they feel familiar in some way, as though we have met them before.  We find them fascinating and enigmatic and, if they are of the opposite sex, we might believe that our interest in them is romantic. Sometimes that is the case, but other times our interaction with this person causes an internal release of energy which can be channelled creatively. Sharing ideas with them can allow us to look at the world from a new perspective. We feel different after meeting them, like something has shifted inside us.  We are inspired to do something we have never considered before or something we have wanted to do but didn't have the confidence to do until now.  So although we might initially feel a little confused by the significance of the meeting, later we come to understand how valuable the experience was. We find ourselves feeling grateful to them and to the unseen forces that brought us together.

So whether it comes about internally or externally, the impetus for change continually affects our lives, prodding us to grow and evolve and never allowing us to rest in one state for too long. Instead of becoming fearful and running away from these impulses, we could open our hearts and minds to the recognition that the universe in which we live is eternally expanding.  The material from which our world is made, although having the appearance of being solid, is in fact in constant motion. The matter that we see and touch is made of atoms that are always moving, whizzing around, jumping from dimension to dimension. So if we were to remain static, stagnant or unchanging we would be going against the fundamental laws of nature. Instead of avoiding it, we would do better to embrace change. When we do so our being responds to it with energy and a vitality we thought we had lost. Life has meaning and purpose again. Change is not our enemy but our ally. It is our essence. It's who we are.

1 comment:

Solomon Pearce said...

Brilliant, I agree completely with everything here.

The only thing I say to people who are wondering how to read the text is to highlight it.