How Do I Change?I had a futon couch. I say "had" because I dismantled it last week. It had been bothering me for some time now. It wasn't in the greatest shape. It required daily maintenance, groaned and squeaked loudly when anyone sat on it and all around, just looked like it was ready for the scrap heap. I was tired or looking at it, tired of taking care of it, and tired of sitting on it. But having no money to buy a new couch, I didn't see any alternative as it was better than nothing at all to sit on. Last week, I found some inexpensive chairs and decided that was the end of that couch.
Sometimes things in our lives are like that couch was in my living room. It's there, looking a bit raggy but it's better than nothing. Our attitudes, built and maintained to protect us, groan, complain and require daily maintenance, but we keep them around anyway. We don't like them but we're used to them. They've become a fixture in our personalities, too hard to change. Can't teach an old dog new tricks, after all. And even if something better was to come along it would be different—an adjustment—a change.
Being receptive to change is essential to spiritual growth. In truth, things are changing all the time. The earth is in constant rotation, never the same place in any given moment. We are in motion—shifting this way and that, breathing, digesting. Atoms are ceaseless motion. "Change is the only constant in this universe."
How, then, can we feel so stuck in our lives and habits? Simply—we aren't aware of what's changing. If you increase your awareness of change, however small or however general, you can go from stagnant to flowing. For instance—day turns into night. There's change right there. We all know that but how often do you invest awareness in it? In fact, cellularly, your body is not the same one it was a few years ago. Intestinal cells live for 36 hours before they are replaced by new ones. White blood cells last for two days. Red blood cells last four months. Bet you didn't even feel those changes.
Change doesn't have to be complicated, threatening, difficult, or all those things we make it in our mind so we don't have to change. It can be as simple taking five minutes a day to focus on your breathing for relaxation. Then again, you could take to dismantling things in your life that are no longer serving you, a somewhat larger project but one worth the effort.
My chairs weren't comfortable at first. They were different and admittedly difficult to get used to. I'd wondered for a few days, if I'd made a mistake tossing that old couch. I missed it. But after a few days, I got used to the chairs. It's made more of a difference than I'd thought, in the way I think and feel while in my home, as change often does. If something like tossing a couch can do so much for me, how much would making the changes you want to, do for your life?
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