Change is inevitable. Do you dread it or roll with it? What’s your relationship with change? Do you welcome it with open arms or avoid it like your worst fear?
One of the best life lessons is learning to embrace change, and in fact seek it out as a way to grow and expand your life experience. Change is most awful when you add judgment. Things used to be better! Things weren’t great, but I was comfortable with life the way it was. In my writings, you learn that everything is transient, partifularly your idea of yourself. You have spent your whole life culltivating an image of yourself and who you should be and want to be. Then something comes along — a divorce, death of a family member, loss of a job–and shatters that image. Lucky you.
Change is about starting over. Yesterday, the USA experienced a huge and shocking change. A group of mostly white men stormed the White House to ensure their unelected leader remained in office. It was shocking to see a mob inside the White House, seeking to disregard elections and overthrow the basis of democracy. For many Americans and the world, it changed our self-image and views of others. The people I know had no idea that people would buy into disinformation and lies about the elections. But they did.
It changed us as a nation because we saw the vastness of the fault line. What would the rioters have in common? Probably a lack of education. Education has been under-funded and overlooked in the USA since Ronald Reagan was president. People who lack education and watch TV and follow social media are open targets for manipulation.
Many people experienced an instant change upon seeing the riots. We more deeply valued democracy. Democracies are based on agreement in law and institutions. Law and institutions change and evolve. People who fear change are more likely to seek rulers who promise them (falsely) the security of the past. There is no security in the past. In the world of meditation and mindfulness that I inhabit, there is no past. Women’s empowerment, kind and loving men, technological savvy, respect for democracy–these qualities require change and development.
In a world that’s ever-changing, the more prepared we can be, the better. I recently did a podcast where I shared my experiences of moving through big and small changes with curiosity. I also talked about how a life of meditation can give you the tools to experience change as an energy boost, not a drain. In the stunning assault we just witnessed, my mind and heart went out to this country with compassion and prayers for healing and wellness. In meditation, light and inner stillness are deeper than surface turbulence. The reason so many people are now, happily, turning to meditation is that we sense we all have a deeper self. I don’t think anyone who stormed the White House was a meditator. Their being would have guided them not to show up for a fake and deeply destructive cause.
Listen to the episode, and read American Buddhist Rebel. The book is imbued with wonderful change on every page.