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The Law of Constant Change

 

In Autumn as the seasons shift, the leaves change colour and fall, notice how effortlessly the trees let them go. They don’t try to hold on in fear that they will be left bare. They simply comply with the call of Nature and let go.

People, on the other hand, resist change. We fear. We stress. We get anxious. I’m not talking about the change of seasons, but the changes that occur in our life. Change in circumstances. Change in careers. Change in relationships. Change in surroundings. Change in finances. Change in health. Change in age. We often dread change. We try to hold on to old ways. We fight tooth and nail to maintain beliefs and ideologies. We would rather have things stay as they are, even if they are chaotic and not working in our favour. Why is this so? Because it makes us feel more in control. This is a false sense of security, because change occurs whether we like it or not. Whether we are ready to accept it or not. When we try to cling onto the past, we block off the natural flow of life and we stop new opportunities from entering.

Certain things are constant and predictable. The sun will rise in the east and set in the west. An object will fall if it is dropped. Spring will become summer followed by autumn and winter. Ironically, another certainty is the Law of Constant Change. Everything is in a state of change, nothing remains the same. The planets and stars are changing. The Earth is changing. Our thoughts change. Our emotions change. Even our physical body, the most tangible aspect of who we are, is in constant change. Day to day millions of cells die and are replaced with new ones. The bones that you have today are not the same bones you had 10 years ago. Every atom and molecule in your entire body has changed over time. Change is a necessary and natural part of life. Yet we still resist it.

Some people allow for change in certain areas of their life, but not in others. When they allow change to occur they blossom. But if you examine their situation closely you’ll find that in an area where they are struggling, they too are resisting change. For example, they may allow it in their work but not in their relationships. For others it’s their finances. Others may battle with their weight. The rest of their life may be working well, but in areas of difficulty they are blocked because they are resisting the necessary flow of change.

Some people are so fearful that they become totally paralysed. They don’t take any action, thinking that this will avoid change. The truth is, even when you don’t take action, things still change. What’s more, if you are not an active participant, then the changes can be even more intimidating.

Life is like a river. When it flows, its water is pure and healthy. When it’s stagnant it becomes infested. There is a Zen parable that says: “You can never walk in the same river twice”. This is also true of life, because life is about constant change.

So what should we do? Well, firstly we must become aware of The Law of Constant Change and notice how it works in our life. Secondly we must learn to embrace it instead of fearing it. Thirdly, we must become an active participant in the process. In order to do this we need to have a clear vision about what we want from our life: Decide. Act. Persist.

The next important ingredient is to learn to let go. This may seem to contradict the notion of persistence but in fact it works alongside it. We still continue to strive for the end that we have in mind, but because we are willing to let go, we are allowing the world to help us along – through creative solutions that we never thought of. Successful people will tell you that many times they have reached their goals, but the path to the goal was very different from what they had envisaged. There was a left turn when they expected a straight. There was a hill where they anticipated a flat road. If you are not willing to allow for unexpected changes, then you will either give up when you come up against obstacles, or you will miss out on opportunities when they present themselves. Sometimes in chasing our dreams we become so obsessed with the outcome that we forget about the journey and miss out on many of life’s gifts.

Letting go can be a difficult lesson to learn. It requires courage and faith. It’s easy to become a control freak, but  this is a waste of energy. We can never control all the unknown factors in life. The best we can do is use them to get to our destination, like a skilled sailor uses a powerful wind.

Just like a river, it’s important for us to keep moving otherwise we stagnate and get stuck in patterns that no longer serve us. If it’s difficult for you, start with ‘baby steps’. Allow yourself to become comfortable with small changes and then let these progress to larger and more important ones.

The Christian religion speaks of death, resurrection and ascension. These are processes of transformation. The ultimate change. This requires a willingness to let go. It also suggests that for change to occur one must allow for the death of something old into the re-birth of something new. This doesn’t have to be a literal death. Change is a symbolic death – you have to be prepared to sacrifice something. This may involve your time or money or it may involve allowing some part of your personality or habits to die and be resurrected into something fresh and new. Amongst many other things, the concept of death and resurrection teaches us the profound significance of change.  Using this as a metaphor, let’s make a decision to learn to deal more effectively with the Law of Constant Change.

Understand that who you are now is not who you will be in one week, one month or one year from now. Make use of the powerful force of momentum, created by change, to sculpt yourself into an incredible human being of your own design. Let us learn from Nature and the trees. Like them, we can let go of what no longer serves us in order to embrace the next season of our life

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