In between the ground we are standing on and the space that surrounds us, we experience the change of what is.
Many of the people I’ve worked with were born in Germany in the first decades of the last century. They experienced quite different, and in general, much more difficult times than we do today. Even now most people on this earth are living in more difficult circumstances than we are in the modern Western world. Nevertheless we also can experience heavy changes in any moment. The fact is that at the very least, we experience sickness and death. Hope and fear are well-known companions for all of us.
Trust and confidence
Many of us long for more peace and a more relaxed attitude towards difficult experiences in our lives. But how can we find that relaxed attitude? Relaxation actually comes from trust and confidence. When we trust something that is trustworthy, our relaxation can become strong and stable. So to begin with, it’s helpful to take a look at where we put our trust and confidence. Isn’t it the case that we all experience trust and confidence in some aspects of our lives but not in others?
Hope and fear
Generally speaking, we wish to have good experiences and to avoid unpleasant ones. But we can never know if that will work out or not. For heaven’s sake our outer circumstances have been astonishingly easy and stable for a long time. We take it mostly for granted that we can go into a shop and buy what we would like. What we have no use for is taken away in a garbage truck. We go where we wish, and communication from all over the world arrives in our inbox or our mailbox. Turning on the faucet, fresh water is delivered in the temperature we choose. Even during cold winters and hot summers we can live within our desired range of temperatures.
But it was not always this way, and circumstances might change at any time. If we put our trust and confidence in these things always remaining the way they are, then at some point we will be disappointed and stressed, perhaps sooner rather than later. To put it simply, hope and fear are not friends with relaxation. Hope and fear are powerful and often unseen forces influencing our life and actions.
Change as delight
So, we experience change constantly, but how are we dealing with this fundamental element in our lives? Do we experience it as a natural or as a scary part of life?
We certainly have some positive connotations with change. Aren’t we happy if, after long weeks and months of demanding work, we finally reach the vacation? We enjoy the many different experiences we have during our travels. The change of seasons is welcome for many of us, as is change in activity. Trying to thread a needle, I always feel relief when I can finally start sewing! All of this is only possible because there is constant change.
Change as suffering
A more interesting question is, how is it for us that we don’t always meet good experiences? In theory we might know that no moment is the same as another one, and that some experiences are unpleasant, but how do we live that truth? Maybe we have aimed at something that is not going to happen. Or we’ve lost something or someone we love. In the same way, we know that every fortunate situation can and will end. How do we experience the fact that change is also suffering?
Our normal way
It’s so normal for us to reach for pleasure and happiness and to try to avoid suffering. Most likely, this way has guided our life until now. But exactly this way also causes us a lot of stress. Maybe we notice thoughts like “if I don’t keep going like this I’ll lose everything” or something similar. It’s possible that more often than we would like to, fear and avoidance are motivators behind our choices and actions.
Beliefs in shadow
So again, where do we put our trust? From what are we experiencing a confident, positive outlook? Where do we feel weakened and unhappy because of a lack of trust? Within these deepest beliefs and biggest fears of our life we will find the powerful and influential factors that shape our actions and our direction in life. And yet, often these assumptions and fears exist in our minds in shadow, or in half-shadow, not quite explicit.
Consciousness and choice
Noticing what really motivates us can enable us to become the captain of our journey. We can realize that we are moving in a certain direction in life because deep down, we believe we will find there what we most want. This self-knowledge also helps us to notice when we’ve moved onto thin ice, where we might disregard loved ones, or our own health, in pursuit of our goal.
Regularly taking the time to reflect alone or with others on these things, we can correct our course early on. And in the case of a failure we at least can know that we did our best all the way through.
Living with change
Change is a fact of existence. We can’t avoid it. Positive and negative changes are a natural aspect of reality. They are not our sorrowful fate or our own fault. There is much more to it than that. A kind of curious and open observance allows us to learn from what we see.
We can choose how to respond to change. There are always the options to resist or fight something, or not. Which option do we choose? There is always the possibility to observe “what is” and how we spontaneously react towards it. We can try to understand what’s going on within ourselves and then choose to act from a different angle. This allows us to feel freedom where we initially felt caught. This can be the beginning of a beautiful learning process and a positive “change.” 🙂
Now I wish a beautiful summer week for all of you within the change from one moment into the next. I hope you can feel stable and grounded while moving within change and space.