Who we are now is not who we were last year, last week, yesterday, even a minute ago. Life never stands still, no matter what we do. Change is the very nature of existence—our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, ideas, even our relationships are as changeable as rain and sunshine, or night and day. But, as much as change is inevitable, it is not always welcome or easy to deal with. It can upset our world and generate many conflicting feelings.
However, it is in those very moments when everything looks hopeless that we have a real chance to grow into something better: what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, we call a butterfly!
The journey to such transformation is smoother when we can step back from anger, fear or grief, and take a breath, before emotion takes over. Then we can enable the issue to pass, for not even those feelings that seem so enormous, important, or overwhelming stay the same. Given time, what is vital to us now will soon lose its relevance.
Knowing this means that we can be more at ease with change. As thoughts come and go, as we watch emotions rise and fall like waves, as physical, emotional, or mental pain is felt and then gone, we see how this coming and going applies to everything, even our breath. This sense of rhythm informs us that, if we wait long enough, even the darkest of times will also pass.
Mahatma Gandhi famously said: You must be the change you want to see in the world. In other words, although life changes are inevitable, we can also initiate personal change so we can rise to the challenge and become a bigger and better person as a result. How do we do this? We believe the best ways are to recognize that change is inevitable; that there is always the potential for positive change in every moment; and to stay grounded and in touch with our peace.
1. All things are coming and going
Everything that is happening now will change into something else; every thought and feeling, no matter how intense or dramatic, will one day be immaterial. Without change in ourselves we become stifled and stagnant. As nothing lasts forever, so we can appreciate every moment, fully and completely, knowing it will never happen again. Coming to a still place, gently breathe in and out, silently repeating: And this too shall pass.
2. Each day starts anew
We always have the opportunity to transform fear into courage, selfishness into kindness, and loss into fresh beginnings, just as palm trees transform muddy rainwater into sweet coconut milk. Spring is here, with new life bursting forth, and in the same way we too are capable to creating a new life for ourselves in each and every moment. For surely, life is about not having answers and taking chances, all without knowing what is going to happen next. Sitting quietly, breathing deeply and joyfully, silently repeat: I open my mind and heart to new possibilities.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson, author
3. Being peace
The clue to transformation is being able move with the waves, to paddle in the dip so we are ready to ride the next crest. Meditation creates a space where times of pain, sadness, anger, fear, hurt, confusion, doubt, and all our other conflicting emotions can come and be known and gently released. It enables us to be present with whatever is, and to accept, honor, and move with change. All kinds of thoughts may arise, or feelings, sensations, and images. We watch, without denying, pushing away or holding on. We can comfortably rest in stillness, without any judgment or discrimination.
Just as the breath comes in and out, so it is like the coming and going of all change.
Breathe in and out gently, and watch the natural rhythm of your breath. Silently repeat, May I be easeful, may I be peaceful, may I flow with the changes. And enjoy each moment, as it is a precious gift!
See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie, Michael Beckwith, and others.
Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: www.EdandDebShapiro.com