By Maria Camara
Embracing the reality of change is one strategy for building resilience while facing life’s challenges.
Buddhism, among other disciplines, has given special emphasis to the importance of contemplating the reality of change in order not to become so attached to things. If we analyze, we will find that absolutely everything we know is transitory. Yet, we live under an illusion of permanence.
This cognitive bias makes us experience suffering and dissatisfaction when change happens to us. And, most of the time, it catches us by surprise. We do not suffer because of change but because we do not understand and accept it.
Meditating on the transitory nature of everything until we can integrate this reality is a spiritual practice in itself. And, in fact, the denial of this reality in many cases is what disturbs us in life. We can contemplate on the changing nature of the different areas of life: our interpersonal relationships, material possessions, our feelings, our belief system, our body, and so on. Doing so will help us prepare ourselves to buffer the impact of change, as well as help us to live differently.
Finding the Silver Lining
A very graphic example is the way we relate to a sandcastle. We can enjoy its beauty, but we will not be upset when it falls apart when the tide comes in. We count on that happening. In the same way, we can relate to all other things because, in reality, they are like sandcastles – sooner or later they will change shape. By doing this, we will not cling so much to things. Clinging to things is ultimately the root of human dissatisfaction.
Covid-19 has brought with it many fast-paced changes that are resulting in distress for many people. We have been forced to change our habits, routines, family and social relationships, work and economic status, leisure time, etc.
Reality of Change
In addition to that, we are having to face the reality of change by dealing with illness and death, a taboo subject in our Western society. Contemplating death as part of life is also extremely important when it comes time for us or those we love to face it. It will help us prepare for it. Not only that but it may open us up to questioning our values and priorities in life, such as, “If I were to die sometime soon, would I live my life differently?”
Integrating the reality of change and impermanence can be a great opportunity for all of us to work on our attachments, to live more in coherence to our values and vision, to cultivate our spiritual life. In other words, to live a more meaningful life. And this pandemic is giving all of us that chance despite the difficulties that are coming along with it.
Maria Camara is a Hoffman teacher, co-director of Hoffman International, and has a PhD in Family and Health Psychology from the University of Deusto in Spain. She is a certified Gestalt psychotherapist and is trained in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Maria will led the experiential session, Finding Your Silver Lining within Change, during the Hoffman Virtual Conference on Friday, April 2, 2021, from 9:30-11 AM Pacific.