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ReMindful - Mindfully Embracing Change (5:20 mins)


As you look out into the world, and as you interact with the people in your life, what do you notice about our general tendencies for how we relate to change?

You’ve probably witnessed countless times how we’ll embrace and welcome any change that feels good and that falls in line with our preferences and desires.

But also that we have many, often unskilful ways of resisting changes that threaten our sense of comfort and confidence in the way things already are, or should be.

Through our thoughts, ideas, behaviours and actions, we have a tremendous capacity to influence outcomes and the direction in which our circumstances flow. And when it comes to doing what we can to make the world a fairer, more equitable and tolerant place to be, we may have a moral and ethical duty to be the instigators of change.

But its how we relate the notion of change itself that determines whether we experience our lives with a sense of ease or friction.

When we cling to the thought that something has to stay the same for us to remain content, it’s inevitable that there’ll be upset when it changes.

Or, if we believe we won’t or can’t be happy until something changes, then we’re destined to suffer the discomfort of craving, all the time that change eludes us.

Even if the change does come, those new conditions will, themselves, be subject to change.

Its only by investigating, and coming to terms with, and appreciating the true nature of change that we can begin to settle into a more accepting and peaceful relationship with it.

One of the most profound teachings the Buddha gave was given in one line, and it underpins the entire Buddhist philosophy of personal freedom.

He said:

“Whatever has the nature to arise will also pass away.”

We might hear this at a surface level and think it smacks of cliche. We all get that things change.

But the invitation here is to go deeper with it and really investigate it for yourself.

“Whatever has the nature to arise will also pass away.”

It means that nothing is permanent.

Everything is in a state of constant change.


Everything that exists is flowing in the direction of non-existence.

Can you think of anything to which this does not apply?

Objects, buildings, plants, animals, cultures, countries, seasons, the sun, the earth… Even us!

Every second, our bodies are changing.

Our thoughts, sensations, feelings and emotions are continually coming and going.

It not as though things change every now and then; a bit today and then a little bit more next year; Its all happening right now.

It may be happening in big, obvious ways, like a shift in the weather, or in infinitesimally tiny ways, like the erosion of a monument that’s stood for thousands of years.

But it IS happening, right now.

Things are constantly beginning and ending in equal measure.

Impermanence is an inescapable, unbreakable law of the universe.

It cannot be any other way.

So, what does this have to do with our relationship to change in our everyday lives?

Well, here’s some good news.

Understanding the truth of impermanence and to practice recognising, with acceptance, that this is the nature of all things, helps us to live more skilful lives in at least at a couple of ways:

1, For the things we appreciate in life, it allows us to be more present with and truly grateful for what’s here right now.

2, For the things we find hard, challenging or painful, it give us the confidence to know that this too will pass.

This isn’t to say that meeting change mindfully is always easy.

It really is a practice.

It can sometimes require courage and a willingness to lean into uncomfortable emotions.

But by learning to harmonise ourselves with the ever changing flow of what is, we can come to experience more of life with more clarity and acceptance, even while we’re working to change things for the better.


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