Everything changes – we know this. So why is change so hard then?
Death, disease, old age, friends leaving, jobs lost. People change, situations change. ALL the time. Everything is temporary. Everything, including life itself. Which can be really hard to accept. Some struggle to handle even the smallest changes in life. Why is that?
Because the mind is a bit tricky and has a way of controlling us, if we let it. If allowed, the mind will happily spin out on thoughts of fear and worry about life and all that could happen. Poor me, life is so hard, what if, why me etc. etc.
But have you noticed that when you’re feeling balanced, grounded and centered that change is not as hard to adapt to? That you don’t get pulled as easily in to the dramas, the highs and lows of life?
Because the truth is, amidst the sadness and suffering, life is also incredibly beautiful. Being centered allows you to see both extremes and to stay rooted in a sense of calm in the middle of whatever high or low you happen to be going through in life. Being centered helps you remember, even whilst experiencing pain and suffering, that this too shall pass, this too is temporary. And it helps you remember to be grateful during times of joy and happiness.
So how do you become centered? Let’s look at four different approaches that can help:
See the Bigger Picture
It’s not to be in denial and pretend that suffering and heartbreak don’t exist, of course they do, they are part of human existence. It’s simply knowing that we have the ability to control the mind by not giving it the attention it’s looking for, and instead choosing a mindset that includes the knowledge that light and dark will always exist together and that everything is temporary. Life is incredibly beautiful and is also incredibly sad, because it changes, and we miss things, we suffer, and feel pain. This is all natural, and all temporary. Zoom out to see the bigger picture.
Control the Mind, not Life
A lot of wasted effort can be spent on trying to control life, when we’re not really in control at all. We can manage ourselves as best we can but ultimately we don’t decide our timeline in this body, this lifetime. We’re not in control of how long the people we love will be around for. Nature takes its course. Letting go of the things we don’t have control over is incredibly freeing and allows for more adaptability. Change the focus to the mind instead. Because, this is the one thing we are in control of or, if not, it controls us.
Yogic practices such as meditation, breath work and asana, when practiced regularly and precisely actively help control the mind and bring about a sense of being centered, therefore enhancing your ability to adapt more easily to the inevitable ever-changing nature of life, in all its glory and all its pain. With the breath and mind so inextricably linked that when one is off so is the other, breath work in particular is an incredibly effective mind management tool.
Death for sure can be the hardest change of all to deal with. It’s so final, and we really don’t like that! Yet it’s the most natural thing in the world – we were all born and we will all die. Contemplating and accepting the short, sweet time we have in this life can help change perspective on all things including changes that feel scary and serious. What’s there to worry about, really? No matter your beliefs about what happens when you leave your body, making peace with the journey is what’s important.
Try experimenting with these practices, of developing acceptance, letting go of the external control of life, and trying instead to focus on inner control. Contemplate how fragile and precious this life is, not to be depressed about it, but to be motivated. And at the same time manage the mind so that the experience of life is more balanced and centered, ready to adapt to whatever may come!