Dealing with Change
by JAREK CZECHOWICZ
Knowledge begins when perceptions are questioned. Normally you understand and question things based on the assumption that your perceptions are correct, and that you know how to think. Once you perceive something, thought automatically weaves a tapestry of conclusions and possibilities against which reality is judged. Unfortunately the examination of perceptions is often overlooked in the rush to be busy. Everyone has experienced times when their perceptions were flawed. It would seem like an important thing to notice in other situations as well. Nevertheless people tend to look outwardly rather than inwardly so they only notice what they perceive and not how they perceive.
Change begins with consciousness.
Change is what gives you a sense of being alive. Since inception your body has grown from one cell to millions. You have never known what thoughts will arise in your mind, so each thought brings change. And who knows what outer conditions will arise? By now everyone should be comfortable with change, but it's rarely the case.
Be at ease with not knowing.
Knowledge is always expanding to reflect, interpret, affect, or create changing conditions. Something always seems to be missing because knowledge cannot exist without the unknown. The very act of thinking precludes the possibility of having all the information. So be at ease with not knowing. Then at least your pursuit of knowledge or understanding will not be obstructed by anxiety.
Use your attention to navigate changing conditions.
Whatever arises will either be what you want or what you dont want, it will bring a degree of pleasure or pain. Both are completely natural but unrelated to peace of mind, so be happy knowing that you never know what will arise, either in your mind, or in your environment. As thoughts or conditions arise notice how you bring your attention to some things while ignoring others. Your sense of free will is in your capacity to bring your attention to that which arises. So use your attention to navigate through turbulent conditions, either through or away from troublesome thoughts.
Beliefs are barriers to reality.
The barrier to transcending beliefs is ephemeral, it has no substance, yet it is so powerful that it keeps people locked into dysfunctional patterns of suffering. Beliefs and conditioned thoughts provide a sense of reality that can blind people to the proof of their own experience. Thoughts that cannot be discarded, ignored or transcended create a mind made armour ready for conflict, and a mind made prison.
There is a useful example of dividing a rectangle into four smaller rectangles by drawing a cross within it. It is correct to say that the divided rectangle becomes four rectangles, but it is also correct to say that it becomes nine. Looking at the same image some people will only perceive four or five, or eight rectangles. This example not only speaks to broadening of perceptions, it also reveals how thought divides reality, creates knowledge, and how people can hold conflicting views of what is in essence the same thing.
Make sense of change by resting in the changeless.
We perceive change by measuring one state of being against another. Typically we compare the present moment to the remembered past, or to the imagined future. A thought of the past gives the past a sense of reality. A thought of the future gives the future a sense of possibility. Both past and present exist only in thought. See for yourself. Can you go into the past, or do you think of the past? Can you go into the future, or do you think of the future? Only the present moment, the now, is real. Yet the now has no duration. It cannot be measured. Check for yourself. When does now start and when does it end? As I have said on another occasion, the present moment is not a point in time. When you try to measure time you start from a point that has no duration, and end at another point that has no duration, and then assume that the first point continues to exist in reality. As you examine this deeply you will find there is no duration, only a sense of your being. A sense of knowing that you exist, that you are here.
Keep your attention open, not tightly focused on anything, but open to everything.
The word awareness is sometimes confused with the word attention. We often talk about becoming aware of something when we mean bringing our attention to something. Attention is an emanation of awareness. You cannot become aware because you are already aware, you are awareness itself, and things arise in awareness. If you try to focus your attention on awareness your mind will go to a concept of awareness. It's like a light beam trying to shine on its source to illuminate it. It cannot do so because it is emanating from the source. Keeping your attention open is accompanied by a sense of ease that reveals your connection to awareness. At the same time it allows you to respond to the situation at hand because your attention is not caught in any particular concept.
A strong desire can arise for meaning, reasons and explanations when dealing with changes that you don't want. Most people are quite comfortable with the idea that the formation of a galaxy or a planet is a cosmic event, so you might appreciate that these local changes are also cosmic events, albeit on a smaller scale. Whether grand or small these events arise in awareness, within you.
Do without expectation
Understand things as clearly as possible and express yourself as clearly as possible, then let it all go. Everything always changes and knowledge is always incomplete. You will be happy more often if you don't expect things to make sense.