The Challenge of Change

The Challenge of Change


A Sixty-Word SZEN Story:


His Dad was driving a bit slower now, barely moving down the street, craning his neck to see, certain he was in the right place. After three trips around the block, his son asked him if they should stop and ask for help. “No,” said his Father, “I know it’s around here somewhere.” “You sure Dad?” “It’s been a while.”


And more…


I think we’ve all been in a place that seemed familiar and we were sure we could find it again. We hesitate to ask for help because it may be right in front of us and that would be embarrassing or worse yet, the shop, or the store or bar or whatever that saw us enter its doors so many times before is just gone. Gone from the place we recall and gone from the greater reality of life – things move, they die, they go away and what was, is now changed.


The challenge with so much of change is that it happens and we’re completely unawares. And with the absence of knowledge of whatever changed we continue to act as if all is working fine; things are just as they were and acting according to the established status quo. The status quo of the mind however is often lacking huge pieces of reality, either because: 1. We just couldn’t possibly know something, or 2. We could possibly know something has changed, yet we just choose to pretend it hasn’t and sometimes we fight and ignore the change we see coming right at us. Think of Kodak selling film, ignoring the mass adoption of the digital camera.


So in the #1 example, like Dad looking for a place he remembers that is no longer there, we discover that time has taken a toll on our memories and shifted the present. In the 2nd example, we simple shut out change. The expression that “I never really saw it coming” is really an expression of “I wasn’t looking.” Or better said, “I don’t want to know.”


We get to decide what we let in or not. And many people live very happy lives by ignoring the signs of change or anything that might disrupt their version of the world. It works, but it is out of sync with the bigger reality and the issue with the bigger reality is that it ultimately trumps everything. This leads to a convenient adage of sorts and a mantra that I’ve found useful: “Change your thinking, change your world.” And just as true is that if we change our world, our environment, relationships etc. it will change our thinking as well.


The ending of the story above is that Dad was right; the place was a couple of blocks away. Go figure.


Szenippet: Life is like taking a course on dealing with change. We study but we’re never totally ready. The point is that we never will be because we too often wake up and forget the simplest premise: It’s a new day.

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