Changing how we think about change.

Are we going through life to experience the changes that life brings? Or is the changes in life what brings us the experiences that create happiness. I have been reflecting on my own experience – being a creator and consumer of change and I wonder if humans have the capacity to continually keep changing.

It is hard to believe that 30 years ago the internet was something that we were playing around with in university. Also 20 years ago the internet was in its infancy and many of the trillion dollar ideas that have since manifested is now mature services that have totally changed the way the world works. It has been 12 years since Apple launched the iPhone 4.

And while we mark this through technology, there is unprecedented change – it is sometimes hard to decide if we are here to be led by these changes – if every inevitable change should trigger in us a desire to be led to a new horizon, or if it is okay to be content with where you are. Confucius said that to be constant in happiness you have to change often.

But change in itself is a skill and competency that is characterized by two primary modalities. The first is to yield or to permit and the second are to push forward or to resist. When you yield or permit it is the slow change that allows something that creates a new possibility, or to tolerate what is happening. It is the path of submission but also the path of opening up possibilities. It is the widening of possibilities and the acceptance of the flow of the universe. But the second energy or modality is often harder as it pushes forward or stands firm. It inherently creates a change and enforces and drives it. Leadership is about this energy of assertion, influence and steadfastness in a perceived outcome.

We are here to do both. The journey of self discovery is to find the elements that you are most comfortable with and to push and pull, yield or resist at the correct times in the correct way to grow and create a better world with openness and fulfillment.

In drawing on the interplay between eastern and western traditions we identify that there is a number of ideas that are essential elements that combine. The western traditions typically refer to earth, wind, fire, water, spirit or also body, spirit, mind, hearth, breath. The eastern philosophies take heaven, earth, water, fire, thunder, wind, mountain and lake and translates these are vitality, devotion, risk, illumination, motivation, grace, stability and joy. There is also the traditions that draw on the divine, wisdom, understanding, mercy, justice, beauty, victory / eternity, glory, connection / foundation and divine presence / kingdom.

These systems that derive a set of states or transitions that in combination should describe the paths or changes that we experience and gives guidance on how we move from one world to the other.

These journeys, whether deliberate or happenstance should form a realisation that we are all busy going though life to experience a set of changes. These changes activate who we are and the way that we respond to these – either proactively or in reaction is what defines our lives.

It is when we get stuck on one state – a place where we are convinced that what we know is the only way, or where we are too timid to take a stance and live a balanced view of the situation that we will build up energies that will accumulate over time and force us to rethink where we are and where we are going.

Each one of us is going to live a life that has all the elements in it. There were will be some adventure, some boredom, some neglect and some fulfillment. You can to some extent choose the sequence and do the work psychologically and spiritually to advance to a next state but many times the environment will trigger these elements.

In realising this – we can start to realise that the more work we do to connect with our spirit the sooner we will be able to make the most of what we are here to do as human beings. Every moment that we are are on earth, not working on our spiritual development, is time that we are wasting and we should constantly seek not change for change sake, but change in our capacity to embrace and live with the change around us.

There is much to say about being owned by other people’s changes. For me the most important realisation has been that people going through their own change often needs an element of validation or resistance in order to form their own final opinion. What I have found however is that if you push something away for a long time, eventually it comes back in a pendulum and hits you. If you pull something towards you because you desire it – it will eventually disappear.

It seems that the ultimate human condition is one in which all elements balance. Some people get that through finding a complete balance through clearing their minds, embracing the now and living in the moment. Others find that in pushing and pulling different elements together, embracing the vitality of every situation and working towards both short and long term fulfillment. Whatever you method – realize that only what is changing, will remain and everything that remains will change.

Maybe ultimately this is what is meant by the saying that we move from dust to dust. It is the animation of that dust for the shortest of periods, which is out life that adds the vitality of the human race and it remains our duty to make the most of every minute while we are moving through the journey of our existence.