Change is a constant. Even though I'd "dabbled" in meditation for many years, when I first became a student of Vipassana, one of the major concepts, anicca, blew me away with its obvious simplicity. Vipassana can be translated as "insight". It's the 2500 year old teachings of Gotama Buddha and it is an awareness of exactly whatever is happening as it happens. It's also referred to as "mindfulness".
Anicca is the "law" that all things are impermanent and constantly changing. A simple way to look at this is to look at ourselves. We are born as infants and we immediately begin to evolve and grow and we don't stop until we move on to the next dimension. Scientists will confirm that molecules and cells are always moving and modifying.
The interesting thing is that many of us are resistant to the idea of change, but we can also get caught up with the feeling that nothing is changing. Sometimes we go out of our way to ensure that "things stay the same", however we're just fooling ourselves. Either way, it can be the source of great frustration.
Zig Ziglar, an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker is quoted in this week's Pleasure Peek:
"The 3 C's of Life: Choices, Chances, Changes.
You must make a choice to take a chance or,
your life will never change."
I get what he was trying to say. It's up to us to understand that we have choices. They may not be easy, however they are ours to make and it often involves taking a chance or risk. I'd like to take a step further with the last part. It might look like our lives aren't changing when the truth is, they will be, even if slowly and not necessarily in the direction we desire.
As another motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, once said:
"If you don't design your own life plan,
chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan."
It could be a person you know and whose influence you feel directly or, it could be the random effects of the general company you keep. Either way, because everything is always in a state of evolution, your life will not stay the same. Even though you may feel like all your outward conditions are just like they were yesterday, last week, last month, or last year, there will be both subtle and blatant shifts.
Back to Vipassana meditation ... it's about learning to sit with and accept what is and that includes how things are transforming. If we are struggling with the aging process, we might be in the past (which doesn't exist anymore), wishing we were still in our twenties (it's not going to happen), or, we could be in the future (who knows what will happen then), caught up in the fear of our decline. This is crazy-making thinking. Staying in the present (which is really the only place where we truly exist and which is totally doable) means we can also choose how to make the most of it. Sticking with aging as an example, we can decide to eat well, engage in healthy, physical activity, maintain a divine, spiritual connection, and foster supportive relationships while also helping others.
As I've been writing this, I keep hearing David Bowie's song "Changes" in the background.
"Ch-ch-ch-ch changes - Turn and face the strange"
Yup, that's it. It's inevitable. Make friends with it.