Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shaken not Stirred by Change

This is the fourth part in a series on change. You can read all of the posts at Soulseeds.

Marilyn Monroe said,

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right…..and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

Change is inevitable. That is the first truth of change. The second is that the future is open, and you can help to create it. The third truth is that chaos and change bring gifts of growth. The fourth truth of change is that there is something that remains stable while all else around you changes. It’s this unchanging spirit that gives you the courage and perspective to see the gifts of change. To paraphrase 007, change may shake, but not stir you.

Try this exercise. (of if you prefer, you can watch me demonstrating it here )Take your right hand and hold it out palm facing up. Something is about to change. Your hand will soon be facing palm down. It’s a 180 degree change. Conventional wisdom would say that it can’t be done without twisting your wrist. You are about to turn your palm down without twisting your wrist. Your wrist will remain stable while your hand changes direction. So, hold your right palm out in front of you with the palm facing up. Without turning your wrist, bring your palm up to your face. Then fold it down over your heart. Then take it out in front of you without twisting your wrist. Then bring it up to your face. Now hold it over your heart. Finally take it out in front of you. Now it is palm down. You did it without twisting your wrist.

In this illustration, your wrist is your unchanging inner spirit. You just changed without becoming limp wristed or losing the core of who you are. Everything can change around you; circumstances can be 180 degrees changed in your life. But you always retain the freedom and ability to choose your response. When this response comes from an inner place of peace, or equanimity, then you are not rocked by change. In fact you may even enjoy it.

Do you have something that needs to be released, some change that you feel brewing in your life? Hold your palm out, face up, so that what you need to release can fly free. Is it a relationship, a career path, a religious belief, a political hope? Let it go. Let it out. Let it fly free. Do it from the part within you that is completely free, the spirit that is still and peaceful in the midst of change. Everything is in perfect order. Reality is unfolding in perfect time, and you have the privilege of co-creating this reality as it unfolds.

This quote from Ken Wilber’s book One Taste is challenging but gets to the heart of that which is unchanging-

There is no inside and no outside, no in here versus out there. The nondual universe of One Taste arises as a spontaneous gesture of your own true nature. You can taste the sun and swallow the moon, and centuries fit in the palm of your hand. The pure I-I, the great I-AMness, breathes into infinity and creates a Kosmos as the Song of its very Self, and oceans of compassion fall as tears from your own very Original Face.

This is how I understand this beautifully poetic thought in practical terms. The lines on your palm change throughout life. The wisdom that some people believe you can discern from your palms is only a snapshot of who you are becoming in each moment, rather than a prediction of your future. There are other marks and signs on your palm; calluses from hard work, scars from injuries, etc, all reminders of your unique life experience. Some of these marks last a long time, but still change over time. I had a birth mark on my left palm that only started fading after 40 years. But there is something on your hand that is unchanging- your finger prints, the distinctive mark you leave when you shake hands with life. Your finger prints represent your unique human expression.

You do indeed hold centuries in the palm of your hand. Generations of genetic and environmental lineage make you who you are. You are changing from moment to moment, just as life changes from moment to moment. An open palm indicates that you aren’t hiding anything. You are ready to surrender to change with all of your vulnerable humanity. With an open palm, you give and receive, let go and begin the process of taking up again. An open palm is also snug. It signifies that you are okay with who you are becoming. This acceptance is the essence of your unchanging spirit. Everything can and will change around you. You will change; your mind, your direction, your path. Others will change. Systems will change. But through it all you remain grounded and stable.

To quote George Orwell, as he marveled at the human spirit that no system can squash,

The thing that I saw in your face no power can disinherit: No bomb that ever burst shatters the crystal spirit.

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