As I write this, it is early September. Later in the month, in the northern hemisphere, it will be the autumnal equinox, the day when summer ends and fall begins. You can already feel the difference in the air. The mornings are cooler. On some of the trees the leaves are already turning to flame.
It made me think about the different aspects of change. We also think of change in the spring, and we welcome the new signs of budding life. But what about the changes of autumn? Do we welcome the coming of greater darkness as life settles down for its long winter’s nap?
It’s all a metaphor for our own experience of life. Some changes are welcomed; some are pushed away. But the great sages have told us that all changes are important and valuable. The changes in the fall allow the earth to prepare herself for the coming spring. And the changes in spring hearken to the natural balance of change we’ll see in the fall. These alternating cycles of growth and pulling back are natural to the earth. And they are natural to us as well. We can’t just embrace the changes we think we like. We must embrace them all.
But we must do more than just embrace the changes that come to us. For the growth and transformation of our inner being, we must actively seek the experiences and self-revelations that bring the changes we may not like at first, but that prepare our inner ground for the eventual changes of spiritual springtime.
Here are some quotations that show how the value of change has been lauded by the wise since time immemorial…
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
— Lao Tzu (604 B.C.E.)
Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.
— Marcus Aurelius (121)
Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749)
Systems and schools can indicate methods and ways, but no system or school whatever can do for a man the work that he must do himself. Inner growth, a change of being, depends entirely upon the work which a man must do on himself.
— P. D. Ouspensky (1878)
I imagined that unity of being could be reached within the customary state of consciousness. I believed, in other words, that a radical change of being could take place as one was, merely through some adjustments. This is probably what most of us think, for we do not realize that in order to change anything in ourselves everything else must change, lest by trying to change one thing we create wrong results in other directions. Change of being is not a patchwork process.
— Dr. Maurice Nicoll (1884)
To change what you get you must change who you are.
— Vernon Howard (1918)
If we want a better life — if we want to be different — we have to undergo change. And we can’t choose those changes. The real changes come when we suddenly see ourselves as we are — when we see what we ourselves have been doing that has been making us unhappy. These revelations are not meant to hurt us, but to transform us.
We must learn to both want to change, and then to be willing to accept the facts the Light shows us for the purpose of bringing about that change. This has been the experience of sincere seekers across the ages. We can all join them in this great awakening.
Do you have a quote about change from your own tradition that you could share with us? It may be just what someone else needs to see to be helped through a trying time. So, please click here to submit it to the OneJourney Living Book.
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project