Challenge of Change

Quoted from the Ladakh Times

The Challenge of Change
by Mick Quinn

If you look closely, you will see that the suffering you experience, as well as the pain and suffering you cause others, comes mostly from your inability to accept change.

We all want to experience true joy, freedom, and peace in our lives, but few of us ever do. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to realizing such an “awakened” state of living is our inability to accept change.

We become worried and stressed when we lose our job; we’re devastated when a lover leaves us; we’re upset even when little things don’t go “our way.” But the fear and pain that we experience are not really caused by things that happen to us; they are the result of our conscious or “unconscious” resistance to change.

We often have a hard time accepting change in our lives—even good change—and feel the need to control, force, rearrange, re-invent, or reinterpret everything that happens in an effort to make our world “safe” and predictable, or to heal the inner torment we carry from experiences in the past.

We also place a high degree of importance on healing ourselves by looking for the “causes” of why we feel the way we do. But, even though psychotherapy may be beneficial for some, real joy, freedom, and peace lie not in the complexities of the past, but in the simplicity of accepting change in the present moment.

Nothing in life is more natural than change. As Buddha said, “All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation.” This means that everything that occurs—whether good, bad, or tragic—also will cease to be. Consider feelings for example. Think back to a time when you felt your absolute best, and to a time when you were completely overwhelmed. You can remember these feelings, but where exactly have they gone? As with all things that arise, they eventually cease.

It is important to remember that feelings are temporary, and are simply illusions created by our unwillingness to accept life’s most natural state: change.

It is your ability to accept the transitory nature of all internal and external occurrences that will create real freedom, joy, and peace in your life. Learning to acknowledge this natural state of change, without resistance, means never having to unnecessarily suffer again, or to be the cause of any more suffering in those around you. It is developing trust in what is that creates the conditions for awakened living in an environment that is in a constant state of flux.

Since nothing could be a more natural expression of life than the change we experience each day, it is important to realize that we have nothing to fear from the process of life. Almost all fear is the result of our resistance to this normal aspect of life. If you look closely, you will see that the suffering you experience, as well as the pain and suffering you cause others, comes mostly from your inability to accept change.

Learning to accept change is a matter of remaining “conscious” in the face of change. When you begin to feel resistance to change in your life (e.g. stress, fear, anger, doubt, frustration, impatience etc.), use the following steps:

- Acknowledge your resistance to the change you’re experiencing.

- Acknowledge that change is the most natural state in life.

- Acknowledge that everything is transitory, including your feelings and resistance to change. They will arise, and they will cease.

- Accept and be thankful for both the pleasant and unpleasant changes in your life, as they are opportunities for your awakening.

Remember, when you resist change, you are opposing the very essence of life that has been looking out for you since the day you took your first breath. Experiencing resistance, and learning to be comfortable with its temporary and sometimes intense nature, is part of learning to create the space for an awakened life filled with joy, freedom, and peace.

Real-life example:
Jennifer did not know how best to create the conditions for her awakening to authentic joy, especially in relation to her job, which she’d had for ten years. One thing she was aware of was that she had to disconnect from the mindless chatter and sometimes callous gossiping at lunchtimes and during breaks.

Jennifer brought an Eckhart Tolle book to work, and instead of joining in the chatter, she would sit by herself and read. When she declined repeated requests to rejoin the group, her co-workers started to become suspicious. She was eventually called to her boss’s office, and after many meetings about incidents unrelated to her reading, she was told that she would have to work with a “minder”—someone who would make sure she was still able to do her work well. Jennifer continued to read on a daily basis, and shortly thereafter, she resigned. The chatter, however, continues unabated.

Let nothing upset you;
Let nothing frighten you;
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing:
God alone fills all our needs.

St. Teresa of Avila

Exercise - Be a Master of Change:
Make a list of the top twenty- five situations in your life. Include relationships, work, and hobbies /pastimes. Imagine who you might be if they all dissipated.
If you sense fear or uncertainty now, this is the ego.
But, if there is also a sense of openness and possibility, this is the seed of your own awakening. Twenty-five years ago such a list may have looked very different than it does today. You are a master of change, and you will always have the last word on what is, and is not, in your life.

Mick Quinn
In 2001, Mick Quinn's life was greatly transformed while sitting in meditation with world-renowned spiritual teacher, Andrew Cohen. Mick has been a delivery person, a civil servant, a founding partner in two multimillion-dollar technology companies, and an executive mentor/coach. He has now "retired" from his entrepreneurial career to write, speak, and cultivate the seed of potential and authentic joy that lies within each one of us.




Daruma Museum, Japan


1 comment:

. Gabi Greve said...


forever changing
the clouds
and I  

Click to see
Haiku and Photo by Gabi Greve