Change Without Trying

If you ask me, it takes a lot more work to stay the same than it does to change.

Think back ten or twenty years from now, you were probably a different person then. Your body was different, your thoughts were different, and your actions were different. Did you consciously make that change? Maybe for some things, but overall you probably weren’t even aware of how much you were changing. Only in retrospect do we fully realize how different we’ve become.

People don’t usually need to read about “personal development” to make a change in their life. It just happens – like a cicada leaving its shell or a butterfly leaving its cocoon. We all go through our own process of metamorphosis. Change is the natural state of affairs and the only thing that is truly certain. As Heraclitus once said, “You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.” (Tweet this quote). This quote perfectly illustrates our world as in a constant state of flux.

The fact that everything is always changing is actually somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand, when we feel depressed or angry or frustrated, we know it’s not going to last. On the other hand, when we feel happy or blissful or secure, we also know that it too is not going to last.

It is just like the story of King Solomon’s ring, a ring which has the “magical” ability to make a sad person happy or a happy person sad. What is so special about the ring? Nothing, except that it has the words “This too shall pass” engraved in it. Why would these words make a sad person happy or a happy person sad? Because it tells us that nothing is permanent.

Humans, as intelligent as we think we are, believe that we can resist this change or even transcend it. We like to think of ourselves as everlasting, and we often find ourselves reinforcing this belief whenever we say things like “This is just who I am” or “This is how I have always been.”

Of course, any amount of inquiry into these statements tells us that they just aren’t so. How can you possible compare you, as a fetus still in the womb, to you, now with a family and a 40-hour-a-week job? They aren’t the same you!

A world of constant change doesn’t need to cause chaos or displeasure in one’s life. It is only when we cling to a particular mental state or belief (or even a physical possession) that we fight tooth-and-nail not to lose it. But by letting go of our need to cling, we can embrace change and maximize our personal evolution.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Stop thinking of yourself as a fixed entity.
  • Accept that you are a different person today than you once were.
  • Accept that you will be a different person in the future than you are today.

With these ideas in mind you no longer have to fight change, and it begins to come more effortlessly. Sure, you will still have values, beliefs, intentions and goals, but they too will always be changing – and that is okay!

We exhaust so much effort in trying to maintain our identity or ego without understanding that its nature is to change, grow, and expand. The tighter we hold on to our identity, the more we restrict it from reaching its potential.

Exercise: Watch The Weather Change

Take 20-30 minutes out of your day, go outside, and watch how the weather changes. Notice clouds passing by, changes in sunlight, an oncoming storm, the sky changing color, stars shifting, or whatever happens to be changing in that particular moment. Make a mental note of all the things you witness.

The point of this exercise is to be more mindful of just how dynamic our world really is (and in return how dynamic we really are). Even something as simple as the weather (which we commonly think of as in the “background” of our world) is in a constant state of flux. At the very least, this is a great metaphor for the unconscious changes that take place in our own personal development. At best, it is a real-life example of just how dynamic the cosmic order is.

For a bigger effect, do this during sunrise or sunset.

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