When you look at the entire history of the universe, as told to us by a bunch of people that weren’t even there, it becomes clear pretty quickly that nothing stays the same for long. As the story goes, everything existed in a perpetual state of pure potentiality right up until the moment it didn’t. The amount of time the universe spent in that state is impossible to count, according to the story; since space needs to be expanding for time to have something to be measured by.
Perhaps in this timeless period, everything that is knew what it’s like to be in a constant state of sameness. Then something happened…or rather, the start of everything happened; and ever since the first moment that could finally be measured, all the things in the known universe have been in a state of constant flux.
On the one hand, this is awesome news. Whether you are aching to be happier, or waiting for humans to develop so you can become one; experience teaches us all eventually that whatever you are enduring will change one day. Things might get better, or they might get worse; but the one thing they won’t do is stay the same forever.
On the other hand, this can be a very distressing thought. Hope for tomorrow is always available to each of us, but the other side of that coin is always fear. What do we do when our dreams come true, and all our hopes for tomorrow become the reality we are living in today? Unless we get new hopes and dreams to shoot for, we can easily find ourselves in a state of fear over the same principle that used to give us hope.
When we find the perfect partner, it’s only natural to be afraid of losing that person. A good pairing changes all kinds of things in your life, and characterizes itself as a good pairing by making those changes take overwhelmingly positive shape. As soon as those changes settle in, and become part of everyday life, most of us can’t help but be glad we aren’t living that old tired routine any more.
Couple that with the idea of having to mourn the loss of a happy relationship, while trying to settle back into those worn tracks; and the thought of losing a great partner can be a devastating one indeed. I should know: even though I always found great happiness in being single, I could not discover all the parts of myself that developed naturally in a loving relationship until I was living in that environment. My instincts told me I wanted love; but my experience told me I was better off trying to turn off that desire. Even if those initial instincts were proven out finally, I still know finding someone who doesn’t make being away from them more appealing than being with them is very rare.
Of course, that fear can mess with our heads if we let it; and if we allow it to really take hold, we might just act in ways that cause us to lose the very thing we are trying to hang onto. Whether it’s a spouse, a job, a car or a home: when enough fear creeps in, the human mind can devise all kinds of ways to sabotage the very thing it used to hope for and now has. Maybe this is a case of old habits dying hard, or the result of feelings of unworthiness; either way, our perspective has to shift to accept this new reality. Otherwise, it will fight it until it goes away.
In this case, it’s a good thing the only constant is change. Personal evolution is an undeniable phenomenon, and no one can evolve without change. At some point, you may have to face your fear: even the best marriages end when someone dies, that job will lead to retirement some day, and you may not be able to navigate that big old house when your legs get old and tottery. Maybe you’ll avoid living out all of these scenarios by dying young and healthy, but that just means you fell victim to the greatest fear of them all.
Once we’re dead, the changes must continue; whether you look at it from a spiritual or biological perspective, there are elements of both great ugliness and great beauty associated with death. As far as the living are concerned, though…well, you’re dead to them. Even the folks who claim to talk to dead people say they only hang about when someone is having trouble moving on. Somewhere else is waiting…for them, for you, and for all of us. It may not be a new physical environment, but every unique instance of moving on takes each of us to a completely different place.
We can all decide, from our own unique perspective, whether change is good or bad. The only person we can really decide for is ourselves, and we may change our minds and say we were wrong later; but such is the nature of change. When you’re too close to it, you seldom get the chance to see it for what it is. I like to think this is one of the reasons we get to see the stars, from our lonely little planet: the vast emptiness of space is there to constantly remind us that everything we are and everything we love is a product of countless and endless changes. Hitting the pause button on existence is impossible, and we can never know what wonders tomorrow holds if we live in an eternal today.
Besides that, most great personal triumph begins with great personal tragedy. Almost every legendary success story starts with a struggle, and a period of time where it seems like life will never get any better. Sometimes it does, though; and most of us love the story of this type of change more than any other. We know every success represents countless failures, and that some lives start out bad and just end up getting worse; but we put it out of our minds as best we can, and keep hoping we will be the next one to benefit from this principle instead of suffer from it.
Or we can always pull back our perspective, turn our eyes to the clear night sky, and remember that in the big scheme of things none of this really matters at all. We’ve had a pretty good run, here on Earth; but one day the planet will be gone, the sun will burn out, and all that will remain of that good run is a bunch of trash floating in space. Maybe we’ll be living on another planet by then, or in giant synthetic environments; or maybe we’ll have collectively realized that the only way for us to continue our legacy is by downloading our minds into machines, and we’ll be robots. No matter what happens, our continued existence will forever rely on the indisputable principle of change; just like it always has.
So…have hope, if anything in your life is not to your liking. Also…be afraid, if you want to; any one of us that holds anything in life precious certainly has reason to fear. Or pull back, look at the big picture and be glad you got to be a part of it; after all, the only reason you’re here is because things changed enough times to make you possible. The process seems to have things pretty well in hand, and there’s no stopping its forward progress; so you may as well relax, and embrace change as best as you can when it comes along.
If you have trouble being that magnanimous, don’t feel bad. Most of the great things that come about don’t get made by staring at the night sky and thinking about how the universe can handle things just fine without your individual participation. Conquering your fears is great, but not if it also means losing hope. Maybe the best part of this principle is the promise it implies; in fact, it’s so important that next week’s post is going to be all about it. We’ll call it…
‘What got you here won’t get you there!’
I hope you come back next week for it, and that you enjoyed reading this week’s offering as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Thanks for reading!
All the best,