Change is easier than you think!
Our quest for a lasting sense of happiness often has us looking for a change of some sort – a job, a change of routine, a change of wardrobe, a new car, a new iPhone, etc. It never ends. These are only our external changes. Deeper, personal levels of change require much more effort to create a shift in our own character.
This inner change might include – changing our diet, overcoming anger, becoming less judgmental, or not being jealous of the success of others. The elusive happiness that we seek often boils down to, “If I could only change this about myself, I would be much happier.”
This is why the Self Help business has been so popular and lucrative for so long; it’s all about the secrets of change – The 10 Best Ways to a New You, 5 Secrets to Being a Success in Relationships, How to Be Confident in Decision Making, on and on. It’s all about CHANGE.
In this non-stop roller coaster called life, the problem we face is that change is hard. It feels like we just added another 5-mile leg to an ever-steepening uphill run. Change is work! Change takes effort, consistency, and staying motivated. Replacing old habits of thinking and doing isn’t easy, like pressing a button to reformat our hard drive.
So, is there a way to create new growth pathways without the effort required to change? It’s possible, but we may need to rethink the word “change” and what it means to us.
Is change really a process that we participate in? Is change something we do?
My wife loves planting flowers; she creates a fantastic garden, all in pots arranged on the deck of our house. We enjoy our morning coffee amongst the flowers and steady stream of hummingbirds all summer. One morning I was alone on the deck, happily enjoying the sounds of nature waking up. I had just finished my morning meditation when I had a simple realization – nothing in nature is trying to change.
If you plant a maple tree seed, give it the proper soil and water and sunlight – it begins to sprout. It looks pretty different after a couple of years of growth; it’s now a sapling. In a few more years, it fills out, the young tree trunk becomes stronger. In a hundred years, it towers over us, endless branches reaching up to the sky. All of the change that we witness is the result of growth. The tree grows, and change is the result.
If we look at photos of ourselves from an infant to a youth to an adult, we see we have changed dramatically. Yet, our body doesn’t think about changing; it just grows. Change is the result.
A saying says, “The only thing that never changes is change itself.” After that morning, I realized this was not wholly correct. It may be better to say that growth is the only thing that never changes. Growth is the process, and change is the result. So, if change results from growth, shouldn’t we be focusing on growth? Actually no! Growth also happens on its own. It’s a natural process. When we’re born, we grow. We can’t get any taller each day by stretching our legs.
So, if we want to participate in our own evolution in a way that enhances the process of growth and results in personal change, what is our job?
Our job is to create and nourish an environment that promotes growth and results in change.
How simple! Let’s again look at the example of growing a small garden. We plant some seeds i