Change is a gift. We often don’t see it that way, because it disrupts our complacency. There is no growth, no progress to be found within complacency. During a recent breakfast chat with another expat we had a long discussion about complacency and the static (both noun and adjective) that can drown the zest in our lives.
Like a snake shedding its skin, or a butterfly its chrysalis, the human soul is designed to learn, think and evolve. Whether you come to this conclusion from a religious or secular perspective makes no never-mind. The truism is real. We are an intrinsic part of an ever-changing, ever-evolving reality. Our spiritual teachers enlighten us to this fact, as does scientific logic—the two indestructible forces in nature are energy and intelligence. Everything within our realm of knowing is imbued with these two forces.
Rather than shun change we should embrace it. But being the stubborn creatures we are we seemingly fight it at every turn. Yet it is through the process of change that we encounter some of our most satisfying moments in this brief life. There is freedom to be found in shedding one’s old skin, escaping the confines of a chrysalis holding us to the branch. Complacency feels safe, but change feels exhilarating. There are so many different voices describing this human need for change: God’s Will; The Buddhist invitation to—Listen to that small Inner Voice; Darwinian Evolution or maybe more accurately Quantum Evolution.
Does the why really matter? Maybe we should just accept that it is, and not dwell too much on why it is. Change does not come easy—ask the snake trying to shed his stubborn clinging skin, or the butterfly tenaciously trying to free itself from its self-imposed prison (I’ve watched both processes at work). The human metaphor often involves death, divorce, illness, job loss and the like. All perceived as loss and not freedom. But to move forward we must at times shed the burdens that are holding us back, and this is often a painful and difficult struggle (not unlike the snake and butterfly).
Sometimes these burdens are failed relationships, job disappointments, financial or material clutter, ill health or just our own thinking and judgement patterns. Something as simple (not easy) as viewing change as a positive and not a negative. But reinvention is not a once-in-a-lifetime thing, for we readily fall back into complacency—there is an ebb and a flow to life, patterns, cycles, phases. Call it what you will. Yin and Yang works for me.
Though all of the great wisdom traditions and teachers say the same thing (including science), the Christian Bible is especially eloquent:
“To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven … “
I’ve told you before that I’ve read the bible, didn’t quite believe me did you? So many people confide to me why they can’t do things. What holds them back, what prevents them from bettering and enriching their lives. And when you clear away all of the clutter and subterfuge it distills down to: Fear of change. It’s not change that is to be feared, it is your resistance to it that should be feared. For having seen through your fear, you will most often find that there was really nothing to be afraid of in the first place. Change is more often liberating than dangerous and confining. Open your mind to change, and change will open your mind to the rest of the world—it is like a doorway to the unknown. Think of it as practice for the big change that will come to all of us at the end of our physical existence in this life.
But—all things are imbued with eternal energy and intelligence, and: “To every thing there is a season … “
Change is a Gift
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Preacher (Secular) on a Bike
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