August 25, 2018

The Real Reason we Resist Change.

Change is good.

If only we could step outside of our ego long enough to see this.

Nothing stays the same, if you haven’t noticed. Our lives are always changing. Other people are always changing. The world is always changing.

The movement of change is built into the very fabric of the universe. If everything always stays the same for us, that only means that we are totally asleep to the incredible dance of life—completely stuck in our own minds.

It is only the ideas we have about the world that give us the illusion of sameness. The image we have about something in our heads is the only thing that can really stay the same, whereas the actual thing is always subject to change.

When we identify fully with the image, with our thoughts, with the mind—we see change as a threat because it challenges our sense of self.

I was in a gas station a few years ago, and I heard something I’ll never forget. The person at the register was making small talk with a customer, asking what was going on and all that. The customer replied somberly, “Nothin’ different, the same every day.” “Yup,” the employee emphatically replied in approval—confirming the sentiment.

Ummm. What? I felt like I walked into some bizarroland, but as I have ventured further into the adult world, I’ve found this attitude to be quite normal.

We can’t possibly recognize the beauty of being alive if we are so resistant to the change—because change is life.

Desperately trying to keep things the same is an outright denial of the life impulse. This is a sign that we are lost in psychological time, endlessly dwelling on the past and projecting ourselves into the future. When we are connected with the present moment, we notice that life is always changing and can embrace the wonderful chaos of being human.

I’ve fallen into many patterns of resisting change and denying life. I have been afraid that if things change I’ll lose something who I once had. I am realizing as I get older that nothing is truly lost. It is only the attachment we had that really goes away. Every experience we have, every love we share, every beautiful moment we enjoy, is burnt into eternity. It all stays within us—buried deep in our heart of hearts. We are made up of those experiences, as they continue to dwell in the deepest expanses of our soul.

So, why do we really resist change?

For one, many of us don’t really see change. We are confined to the realm of concepts, seeing the world through the narrow scope of the ego. When we mistake our thoughts for reality, we blind ourselves to the felt presence of our immediate experience—the “here now.”

Life only unfolds in the present moment, and when we are detached from what’s happening now, we can’t fully embrace change. We either cling to the past or entertain ourselves with ideas of the future, and can never see the natural flow of change that unfolds in the present.

Also, change is scary as f*ck.

We don’t like change because it implies death. I am not just talking about the eventual death of the physical body, but the death of relationships, of experiences, of moments, of emotions, and of everything that we’ll ever do or be. To acknowledge the fact that life is always changing, is to accept that some part of us is always dying. It becomes futile to try and hold onto anything in this life.

The thing is, we constantly forget the flip side. The fact that life is change doesn’t just mean that we are always dying, it also means that we are always being reborn. The ending of one moment leads to the birth of another. The ending of one relationship gives way to the arising of a new one. The dissolution of one emotion allows us the space for more to emerge within us.

This the cycle: birth, life, death, rebirth, and again and again—forever. It’s a magnificent process.

So, we resist change because we like control. When things are the same, life becomes predictable. The trouble is, the more we resist change, the more we will suffer. We can’t live in our minds forever. At some point, we’re going to have to step into reality. After all, it’s a much nicer place to live.

All of this resistance stems from the illusion that we are separate selves, isolated individuals, but the truth is that we are an intrinsic part of life. There is no separation. We are that. We are the change, and when we see this we can start to live a much more free and joyous life.

In the words of William Blake, “He who kisses joy as it flies, lives to see eternity’s sunrise.” So, happiness comes from experiencing life now instead of trying to hold not it.

Change is good—as long we embrace it.


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