I’ve always been interested in the concept of change, and how we, as humans, deal with this unstable uncertainty in our lives.
Yet this resistance, this reactiveness, this fear in many of us towards change, makes our reality so much harder to deal with. We (read ME) try to cling to outcomes, experiences, people, emotions, because we are desperately trying to create some sense of control and togetherness in this chaotic world.
It seems that our desire to control is our source of misery, as change is clearly the only constant in our lives.
As the Buddha see’s it there are 3 characteristics of the Universe:
- Impermanence / change
- Unsatisfactoriness / stress / suffering
- Inter-relatedness / non-self
So if change is the first characteristic of the Universe, and also the only thing we can predict with any certainty – then why do we have such a negative relationship with it?
In the course I’m studying right now (check out my post on The Buddha’s Teachings #101 here) they say:
Find something that doesn’t change . . . The fact is that everything changes all the time. But we don’t take that into account in our day to day life. We expect relationships to stay the same, our jobs to remain available, our cars to keep on going, our bodies to stay strong and flexible, and our children not to grow up so fast – there are examples everywhere. When we expect things to stay the same, were flying in the face of how it actually is and that causes stress.
Some things are unsatisfactory from the beginning. And when something we find pleasant changes, it’s unsatisfactory.
Everything is inter-related; can you breathe without the trees creating oxygen for you? Eat without farmers and shopkeepers? Everything is interdependent, just as our scientists are saying.
When we accept the fact of these 3 characteristics operating in human life, our expectations release.
– Pip Ransome
Learning this has not been anything ground breaking or new for me, yet in a way it does feel like the first time I’m hearing it. I’m letting the knowledge sink deeper now. It’s taking root in my being, and the only way I can describe that is it’s moving from “knowing” in my logical mind, down into my body, into my heart. It’s now more of a feeling, than a knowing. I feel like I finally get it, and I can relax, stop pushing, stop striving, and really learn to accept that change is out of my control.
The age old phrase that comes to mind is:
This too shall pass
And you know what? It really does.
Think back to your last devastating break-up – you thought the pain would never end right? That huge embarrassment you faced, felt like you would never live it down I’m sure? The big screw up at work that you thought you’d never move past? The last time you were unwell, and forgot what it was like to have a fully functioning healthy body?
But with time, these things all change. They have to, because that is the nature of the universe. NOTHING ever stays the same. Your emotions change, your feelings change, your mindset changes, and so does your behaviour. And with that, your experience and outcomes vastly change. Before you know it, these things feel like a distant memory, instead of an overwhelming debilitating emotion.
An important aspect in the art of living is to move with the ebb and flow of your emotions, joining their fluidity nut not being captured by it. It is also not necessary to become obsessed with any particular fluctuation in mood or feeling.
They are simply emotions, often activated in ways that are completely beyond your understanding. When you neither minimise nor exaggerate the intensity and importance of your emotions, you then have a greater sense of when and how to express them.
Our emotions are fluid. They are supposed to be felt, and then released through the body, making way for the next emotion. Much like the sea, we are are continual wave of changing emotion. Some good, some bad, some indifferent. Learning to not get attached, or “hooked” on these emotions can certainly increase the speed at which they move through you.
Letting go of the stories you attach to the emotion, the ‘catastrophys-ing’, and worst-case-scenario thinking is a good place to start. Simply acknowledge it, feel it in your body, and let it release in it’s own natural course of time.
On the flip side of that, also not denying yourself that emotion. Not forcing yourself to push through the emotion quickly, or numb it out by substituting a “better” emotion. This is only ever a band-aid solution and by pushing that emotion deep down inside, by ignoring it without allowing it the space to release, you end up causing yourself more harm down the track.
Need some ideas to help you move through emotion?
Try these ideas out:
- a long walk or jog
- really FEEL the emotion ie/ where do you feel it in your body? what is the sensation?
- talking to a close confidant
- massage, or body work
- repeating a mantra ie/ “this too shall pass”
- physical release ie/ scream into a pillow, punch the couch, cry your eyes out, stomp on the ground, curl up in a ball (or jump with joy!).
Reply below and let me know how you move through your emotions.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Life is not linear, it’s cyclic. A boundless journey of transformation. Of highs and lows. Of joys and sadness. Of contraction and expansiveness. Of birth and death. Of wins and losses. Change is a sure thing. Our ability to surrender to it’s natural rhythms is our greatest tool.
– Rebecca Campbell.
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