For thousands of years, not much changed for ancient man. He plodded through a world as crude as that of his forefathers – until the day he invented fire. One moment of progress led to another, change coming at an ever-increasing rate through stone, iron and industrial ages until it culminated in today’s hi-tech world. Modern life is a time of constant change, accelerating exponentially as science and technology take over our lifestyles and thinking. If we do not adapt, we are quickly left behind – so how can we open ourselves to harmonious change?
Changing Seasons: Spring
Change is the law of the cosmos – galaxies and solar systems would not be what they are today had it not been for the early kaos that formed them. Over time, the universe shifted from creative destruction to orderly harmony. Change can also be seen on as personal a level as our own bodies, which alter daily from childhood to old age. Faced with this obvious inevitability, some still look wistfully at man’s much simpler past and consider change aggravating and unwanted. Why change, they ask, when what we have already works just fine? Because resisting change can be harmful in various ways. It’s like paddling up a river that’s flowing the other way – it’s against the flow, and out of harmony with the universe.
Change is a cycle, much like the seasons. In the springtime, things begin to blossom and seeds burst through the earth. This is a time to take note of change and prepare ourselves for its coming – to open our minds to the fresh and the new. Sometimes this means clearing out the old – with a good ‘ol spring clean. It can be helpful to narrow our outlook to one simple mantra: change is coming and we will change with it.
Just as our bodies function more efficiently if we give them the right nutrition, our minds adapt more easily if we give them the right materials to do so. As change comes, we must make a conscious effort to fertilize our minds with rich materials and new perspectives, paving the way for healthy daily routines. Embracing change is a conscious decision; we must accept it will happen, sometimes in unforeseen ways, and decide to use it to our advantage.
Changing Seasons: Summer
Just two decades ago, mobile telephones were a luxury carried only by businessmen with strong enough biceps to hold their considerable bulk. Today, most of us rely on a cell phone to communicate quickly and constantly. We have forgotten the days of letting loved ones know we will be home by 9pm and remaining out of touch until we arrive.
A 2012 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project revealed that two thirds of us check for messages and alerts even when we have not heard our cell phone ring, while half of us sleep with the phone next to the bed. Dr. Michael Rothberg at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts and Dr. Michelle Drouin at Indiana University-Purdue University performed an experiment looking at “phantom vibration syndrome,” in which we perceive our device to be vibrating when it is not. Almost every subject experienced this syndrome at least once every two weeks – some every day. In the old days, we interpreted such a tingle as an itch and reached down to give it a scratch. Today, having adapted neatly and thoroughly to this technology, we pull out our cell phones instead. We have accepted change by completely altering our response to a neurological stimulus.
In the summertime of change, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Our hard work now offers its reward. This is the time to embrace the pleasures of life and bathe in the glory of the sun. Have fun! Be adventurous and enjoy the wonders of life. Follow through with those new ideas. As we grow and get use to new technologies, we incorporate them into our lifestyles, accepting them as enhancements to our daily routine. This is the moment at which we often exclaim we have no idea how we lived without our new toys.
Changing Seasons: Fall
Why did the leaf fall from the tree? In order to renew, we must let go of the old. All things in life must come to an end, eventually. As new replaces old and better ways are found to work and live, we must let go of our past and keep our eyes focused on the horizon. Everything changes, from people and societies to nature and laws. We no longer use oxen to plow the fields or arrange our politics around a monarchy. As change occurs, we must shed the old and obsolete in its wake. The past informs and guides the future and should never be forgotten, but we cannot hold on to it if we truly mean to accept change. We must learn to let go.
Changing Seasons: Winter
A recent study by Patricia Greenfield at the University of California shows that change can be natural rather than painful and often encompasses entire societies. She examined the frequency of words in more than a million books published between the years 1800 and 2000. Some words reflected materialism and individual thinking, such as “choose,” while others denoted social responsibility in a rural setting, such as “obliged.” The former increased in frequency over time, while the latter declined, suggesting the individual self has grown in importance. Greenfield’s results show how individualism has risen to prominence over the centuries as society moved from rural and low-tech to urban and highly technological. This effect has been so slow and constant, it would seem, that we barely noticed it happen.
Just like the season of winter, change can seem slow and our dreams may seem far from attainable. We may lack motivation, or have setbacks. However, this isn’t the time for mulling in misery but rather an opportunity to reflect on what could be different and plan for what will be. Focusing on the cold only makes the winter seem longer. Remain hopeful, find ways to cope during the tough times, and remember… the next season is only a few months away.
We must never stop growing and changing. As soon as we make the choice to stagnate, the world around us becomes inaccessible – we can no longer communicate effectively or understand what others are saying. Nor can we fathom new technologies and systems and how to use them in everyday life. Stagnation leads to confusion and isolation, a considerably worse situation than the quiet struggle for change.
Change is a passing of the seasons, as predictable as summer making way for fall. Each season will emerge as it should and make way for the next. We must allow ourselves to be carried along with this process and remain hopeful that difficulties will pass and the next season will come, bringing with it more opportunities to cope and adapt. Harmony with the universe means flowing alongside change and evolving to a better, brighter future. Change is inevitable, but it can also be magnificent.
About the Author:
Milan Ljubincic is a psychologist and internationally featured writer in the field of universal consciousness. Learn more about his work by visiting www.Ljubincic.com