Everything is changing, all the time.
When we look at nature, life, our family, our body, our personality, it is always in motion and always moving. Sometimes this is exciting and new things come into place. And other times, it is more difficult. We have all had our hearts broken, lost someone we loved or went through a challenging period in life. We can all relate to this, right?
Sometimes though, change happens and it is not always easy. We are faced with strong emotions and we can’t seem to overcome them. What does it take to embrace change gracefully? And most importantly, how can we change our inner world to perceive the outer world more clearly?
We all have a relationship with change. Whether we are conscious of it or not. It can be as simple as the change of season, in jobs, to our personality. What varies is the degree of change in which we are facing. Usually the bigger the change, the more drastic and uncomfortable it feels. Or it can be also exciting depending on the season.
This may call for a time for adaptation and self-discovery. One way or another, we are all affected by it. It is how we perceive this shift that directs our experience. It might have happened in life that we were asked to change. Either to transform a habit that is not serving us or because we had no choice. Maybe we are living with high stress or anxiety, or chronic illness. This article is how to embrace change in a positive way.
2 ways to react to change.
The first way to react to change is to resist it. Normally this is coming from a place of fear. The unknown is scary and we don’t wish to adapt to it. Everything is so comfortable now, why change?!
The second way to react is to say yes to embrace the movement. It is a time for transformation and discovery, let’s do it!
Which one are you?
There is a lot going on inside and others don’t always perceive our inner struggle. Change can be a very difficult thing to do. Especially when it is about us! Imagine having to transform something you adapted since you were a baby. This is not easy, but I have to say, it is not impossible. If you are going through a difficult and emotional time at the moment then let me reassure you that you are not alone. Change is never easy and it takes a lot of work to persist and believe that it is for the best!
Change of mind
There is also the type of change that is more internal and more subtle for others to see. It is the change of perspective and mind. Sometimes it is difficult to see that we need to switch our mind. It is something internal and covered by many layers and blind spots. It is usually attached with an emotional charge as well.
Sometimes it is good to ask for the help of friends we trust or even a therapist to make us aware of our blind-spots. We know we need to change our mind and adopt a new way of thinking when our current belief system is not serving us anymore and is making us suffer. Usually, emotions are involved, along with pain and the closing of the heart.
In our silent meditation retreats, we often speak about therapy as a good thing. In fact, we highly encourage our students to see a therapist or a healer to help with unresolved trauma so a transition can be made easier.
Therapy in combination with meditation is a great recipe for transformation, self discovery, and healing.
Elements of meditation
There 3 key elements to a good meditation practice that can transform our lives are concentration, awareness, and choice. First is concentration because when we focus on something long enough, we become fully absorbed and nothing else matters. And when our attention gets distracted somewhere else, we become aware of ourselves. So awareness is key as it helps us to know and make a choice to come back to our object of meditation.
Let’s say for this example the focus is on the breath. We use these 3 tools to come into our meditation and practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the awareness of all the different elements at play and remaining focused on the task at hand in a relaxed state of being. We are aware of the distractions, yet we chose to stay focused. This is powerful as we make the choice to not be distracted and to come back. This takes discipline and will-power.
So why is this important for a healthy change?
When we have a steady mindfulness and meditation practice, we become very much aware of our own patterns and ways of thinking. We will notice that we maybe have obsessive thoughts, or feel anxious or nervous.
Meditation helps us to remain calm, to breathe and realize the present moment. In this present moment we also understand that there is nothing else to it but Now and that everything else is always changing. Our thoughts are always shifting, and our emotions are always moving. This is just the nature of life.
What I want us to remember here is the power of our awareness and choice. It is very subtle but the more we practice meditation and mindfulness, the more we will get to understand our true nature. It will be easy to discern between what is the personality and what is our true essence because our true essence is in the nature of peace, presence, and love. Our personality is attached to thinking, analyzing, creating stories, etc.
In yoga teachings, it explains how the mind and the body are 100% connected and often symptoms and illnesses develop in the body when our emotions and thoughts are either suppressed or running on negative obsessive thoughts.
What is of great value here is to know that we can change but it is important to ACCEPT ourselves first, as we are. We need to not force things to change right away as this can be a trick of the mind to suppress what is there. Remember to receive, feel, and accept your process and what you are going through. A change will happen eventually in its time when you are ready.
This step is so important because, without it, healing cannot take place. Only through time and presence, acceptance and love can we really understand ourselves and grow. It will become clear when change is on its way and you will feel ready. Let it be, let it be.
Not everybody likes to make choices. We are often afraid to make the wrong choice, right? When it comes to change, especially the type that is related to the inner work, we have to trust that inner voice and compass that is guiding us. It is speaking to us and it often like a ticking clock. You will feel the connection when change needs to happen. This is when you pick the “power tool” of choice to make the next move.
Choice and change require us to adopt a new way of being and thinking. That means, in moments where you have the habit of going for that bag of potato chip, you chose to go for a fruit salad. It is a more healthy version of a snack. First, you are aware that you want to eat something good, potato chip comes to your mind because this is how you are wired, and then you rewire by making another choice that brings you just as much happiness.
It requires us to stay focused on the new belief and attitude we want to adopt and to come back to it again and again. It is exactly like a meditation practice, except we focus on rewiring our brain to new ways of thinking and acting.
With time and practice, the gap between the old pattern and the change we wish to apply becomes smaller and smaller. Keep persisting and applying your power tool of choice for this new method of being and change is bound to happen.
Sometimes in life, it’s not about being right or wrong, rather embracing all points of views and choosing which one brings us the most joy in the moment. Is it worth it to argue with our mother about something that you know won’t bring anywhere? Instead of fighting or wishing for them to change their attitude, maybe it is an opportunity to exercise your new way of being.
Life always brings us new opportunities to practice who we want to be.
Therefore, instead of challenging or reacting to your mother in a certain situation, instead, you chose to accept her as she is and love her. You try on a different pair of glasses and you see that at that moment, you were aware that the triggers are there, and yet you chose to act from a different place. A place that was more in alignment with who you want to be.
It all boils down to choice and how we perceive and receive the “challenge” at hand. Switching attitudes and the “inner stance” to life is key here to have a different result.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”
Perspective is everything
Cultivating a healthy mind and a positive outlook on life is paramount. Mental health is a real and we need to take care of our thoughts like we take care of our bodies. When we chose to change the way we see the world, then we will notice that the world will also change to our eyes. Suddenly, life is a little more bright!
Nature is changing too
Everything in Life is changing, nature is changing all the time. When we look at life we see the leaves of the trees fall and grow, we see humans grow old and die. This is just part of Life. We also see human beings change, grow and become new people. There is nothing in life that is not changing. When we understand this, then we can embrace change more and become happier.
Sometimes change is not necessary, and it is more for experimentation, and that’s ok too. For example, you try a new smoothie recipe. You either like it or you don’t. Either way, you did it and now you know. We need to not be afraid to try new things and to change the way we do things. There is no other way to learn and to grow as a person.
Finally, change in life is not always easy but it always is a blessing or a blessing in disguise. If you wish to learn how to listen to your inner voice and to embrace change when it is calling, then attending a silent meditation retreat is very beneficial. Being in silent will help you to listen better to what is inside and to your inner guide. It will also help to reduce the tension that is often related to change and the resistance that may rise. Remember you are not alone, and we are all facing something, one way or another. The more we accept our process, the easier it will be to love it and let go.