The Reality of Change
Life is change. You are change. What you thought is, may or may not be now.
While this seems truly "out there", the point is that little else could be more practical. Flowing with this change is something with which we all struggle. We know life changes, we know things live and die, come and go, and yet we still find ourselves surprised and suffering when we are made aware of this.
The problem lies in our misunderstanding of this change.
I have kids that are growing quickly. People often talk about children being benchmarks of time - we can see "change" right before our eyes. Today, I may feel like this:
(I'll be sure to share this with her dating partners until she's 18.)
but truth be told, someday, there will be someone else there with her. This person, this "other", will whisk her off into a reality only they will share. And my reality? It will be completely different.
Again, though, this blog isn't about parenting.
Because we will all have those times when change takes away our breath. When someone dies unexpectedly, when a job comes or goes, when a decision to be made claws at our gut. In the midst of these situations is not the best time to tell someone, "eh, life is change!".
This is where those esoteric ideas become crucial in consideration for our everyday practice.
If we can first, acknowledge, and second, gradually accept that everything is constantly changing, our resistance to that change begins to lessen. Becoming aware of what is, we flow with what is.
Trying to acknowledge change only during those catastrophic situations is like trying to acknowledge our health only when we are ill. We must be aware that life is change while it is happening so that we may practice our attitudes towards this change in a more "controlled" environment.
So we practice. We practice letting our child make his or her own decision while choosing what color to paint. We practice awareness of our own thoughts that change frequently. We practice awareness of our environment - the changing seasons and growth of food, the changing strength of the breeze, the changing smells in the home or office.
We note, without judgment, of how we feel about those changes. With any disturbance, we do not try to push it away. Instead, we can think, "how fascinating!" and decide to how to act from that place of awareness.
So....practice. Take paint to a piece of paper and try to keep moving the brush. Allow the changing thoughts and judgements in your head to arise, be noted, and fall away.
Take your feet to the ground outside. Walk or run. Allow the physical sensations, the heat, the discomfort, to arise, be noted, and fall away. (*Please note: Of course this means constant awareness of your body. If you are in physical pain, by all means, stop.)
Take your hands to the earth. Allow the awareness of the dirt to sink through your skin. Think of the cycles of the earth, the growth of the cactus or tree, the short growing time of our food. Consider your current diet and everything around your home environment that you have not noticed. Allow the awareness to arise, be noted, and fall away.
Take your butt to the meditation cushion. Breathe. Allow the thoughts of what else there is to do, how silly this is, how horrible you are at meditating, how you just discovered peace but - oh - its gone again, to arise, be noted, and fall away.
These mundane practices make the difference. They increase our awareness of the changing nature of what is, right here, right now. This moment is all we can understand because true understanding only comes from experience....and this moment is all we can experience.
Make it real.