A life well lived consists of a myriad of experiences. Goals, ideas, philosophies will appear, have their time with us, then morph into something new and different. There will be many destinations, departures, arrivals, countless thousands, no millions of details that cause a life to indeed be a complex event.
If we were to use the analogy of one’s life as being a book, then it is safe to say this book will have many chapters. Author and philosopher Joseph Campbell said, "It is not until the later stages of one’s life that you look back and see that each experience has a symmetry and reason and fits perfectly into the fabric of your life."
This is indeed true, but do we need to wait till the closing chapters of our life to understand this strange unfolding of our life? Might we not be better served by understanding earlier the nature of some of the hidden laws that weave themselves throughout the fabric of our lives? The answer is of course yes, but where does one look?
To live life as a mythic journey (rather than a bewildering experience) one learns to look at and trust the unknown. Each of us holds the answers to our life’s questions. All secrets, truths and laws will be revealed to the sincere seeker. Learn well the truths of your own being, as well as the dynamics of how life unfolds, and you will be well served.
From subatomic particles that collide with one another and re-form into something else in one hundredth of a second, to giant galaxies that will burn out in another billion years or so, everything changes. So too in the trajectory of our lives; our health, our relationships, our finances, our place of residence, our careers, our spiritual understanding, our beliefs, our most cherished principles, all are presently changing, and will continue to go through numerous changes. It is the Law of Constant Change manifesting in our life. There is no arrival. Or to be more exact, one arrives at one point only to immediately leave for another. There is no stability, only movement. Yet most people live their lives focusing on some arrival point. The happy marriage, financial security, a fulfilling career, abundant health, spiritual awakening. However, all the above are not only arrival points, but departure points as well.
Understanding this is the key to a fulfilling life, for we need to constantly realign ourselves toward enjoying the journey and embracing change as the vehicle of that journey.
The acceptance and understanding of The Law of Constant Change forever at work in our lives necessitates (you guessed it) some changes in how we live and view our lives. Since change is a constant, then we should embrace it, not fight it. Welcome change as a guest, even if this guest is a complete stranger. To make oneself comfortable with change is to make oneself comfortable with life.
We should also understand clearly the importance of initiating the change ourselves through free will. If life cannot and will not remain the same, then why not be the initiator of the changes, rather than letting life impose the changes upon us with some crisis. This is not to say that we can avoid crisis and unknown factors showing up unannounced in our lives, but these will undoubtedly be less frequent and dramatic if we form the habit of initiating change regularly.
When a marriage goes bad it doesn’t happen overnight. There were signs. Poor Health? Again, it’s unlikely that it came like a thief in the night, although it can come like that too. But chances are that your choices and actions have helped bring the poor health to you. Financial problems don’t appear out of thin air; there are patterns in one’s life that attract them. Learn to read the signs and act. Be fearless in initiating change, and don’t be afraid to close chapters in your life. A life is made up of many chapters. Chapters need to be closed before new ones appear. Close the chapter of being overweight and sluggish. Close the chapter of struggling financially. Close the chapter of being angry with a parent or hurt by a sibling.
Chapters can in fact be closed and opened with the ease of a decision. Any decision backed by action will create change in your life, and change is almost always good if we are the initiators, and we initiate after looking within.
One can never be absolute and there are exceptions to every rule, but in a general sense a life that incorporates and welcomes change is a life that will be interesting and fulfilling. Sometimes the need for change announces itself like a cannon shot. A fortieth birthday party where you suddenly realize that your life is not what you wanted and there is still time to do what is important to you. Thank goodness for the midlife crisis. While never enjoyable, they almost always shake us up enough to allow us to view our life in an uncensored way. A life-threatening illness, a marriage break-up, a bankruptcy or termination of your job is a life calling for change and action. While often unpleasant and forced upon us, accepting the concept of change as good and necessary helps us welcome the challenge as beneficial for the overall unfolding of our life.
But these are the dramatic examples. More often the alarm clock, if it rings at all, is a collection of small clues. Sometimes it is absences as much as presences that provide a clue that something is not right, and a change is required.
Next Month: Part II – Tips and Methods for Initiating Change