Some changes are difficult to accept, especially when they involve insoluble problems or irretrievable losses. At such times, it’s helpful to remind ourselves of how much is always changing. Finding a way to practice allowing these inevitable changes will help us make peace with even the most discomfiting fluctuations in our worlds.
With the following meditation, let’s take a look at some changes that are always occurring in and around us. Read through this meditation silently while comfortably seated, or read it to your students in an extended savasana or throughout the poses of a restorative practice when you want to foster the passive, receptive attitude that can induce deep relaxation.
With the following meditation, let’s take a look at some changes that are always occurring in and around us.
1. Notice how the inhale becomes the exhale, and the exhale becomes the inhale. This is always happening, usually without your involvement. But now, give yourself permission to surrender completely to the process. Let go of any resistance to the movement of the breath. Allow the inhale to become the exhale, and the exhale to become the inhale. One breath organically becomes the next.
Myriad changes attend each cycle of breath: As you inhale and exhale, your shoulder blades widen away from each other, then move toward each other; your rib cage expands and contracts; the ring of your waist widens and draws in. Let all of these fluctuations occur. Don’t try to stop them. Throughout your entire body, change is always occurring. Old cells die and new cells are born. The food you’ve eaten becomes your sustenance and then your substance; your very bones are being broken down and remade; your wounds are healing themselves. Do nothing to hinder these processes—which are, after all, beyond your control. Let your body make its changes without any resistance from you.
2. Notice how one thought becomes another thought, and sometimes a quite different thought, in no way related to the preceding one. Your thoughts are always changing. Let go of any resistance to their fluctuations. Don’t hinder the stream of your consciousness, which now might even be transforming the image of one face into another, into a gesture, a button shining on a coat, the light falling through the window. Likewise, a feeling of longing might transmute itself into a burst of sorrow or frustration. Your emotions are always shifting, but now, surrender more completely to the shifts. Let your feelings change as they will, as they always do. Allow them to move and flow.
3. Others might be shifting or moving in the space around you. Let them move as they will. There may be music somewhere; you might hear one note becoming the next. Don’t try to stop this from happening, if only because you can’t. Let each note become the next. Outside, cars go by. Let them go; no need to try to stop traffic. Let everyone and everything go where it wants to go, without any resistance from you. Let the planes crisscross the sky. Let the clouds move. Don’t try to stop the wind from changing its direction or intensity. Let the wind be the wind. Relax any resistance to the changes in the wind.
4. The light changes, the earth turns on its axis. Let go of any resistance to the turning of the earth. Fall becomes winter, or winter then spring. Let it. Don’t pin the leaves to the trees to keep them from falling, nor lie on the ground to keep the new grass from sprouting. Let the seasons change. Do nothing to stop them. No need to net the sky to prevent the migration of birds: Let the birds fly south, and let them return when they will. Let the planets in the galaxy move through their orbits, and let distant stars die and new stars be born. Allow all changes to happen without resistance from you.
5. One moment becomes the next moment, as one year slides toward the next. Allow this to happen. Let one moment become the next, one year become the next. You are growing older. Do nothing to hinder this either. Let yourself grow older. Generations rise and fall. Civilizations expand and contract. Let all of these transformations occur, doing nothing to interfere. Let go of any resistance to the changes that accompany time.
6. Having reminded yourself of your ability to allow change to happen with ease, now allow yourself to accept a change that has been more difficult for you. Is there some aspect of your own life in which you are resisting a change that is entirely beyond your control? Have you in some way been holding on to something or someone, trying to prevent a change in a relationship or forestall a loss? Visualize yourself allowing that change to occur, despite however much you might wish for it to be otherwise. Do nothing to stop it. Let go of all resistance to the change.
Notice if you feel more at ease, softer somehow, after spending some time practicing an accepting attitude toward the changes that may be beyond your control.