Teaching April 2011: Change

Teaching April 2011: Change

Change is such an important subject for our consideration. It is, perhaps, the only constant in the universe and paradoxically, the bedrock of our existence. There is no birth or death; no coming, no going, no thinking, feeling, sensation or intuition; no relationship, of any nature, without change.

This me is not the me I was (or had) yesterday. The more I practice being in the present, the more obvious this becomes. There was a time when I knew exactly who I was.  My job, my family, my bank balance ( or overdraft ), my clubs, my teams, my clothes, my schools, my conversation, my politics, my neuroses, all served to identify this being.  Not always comfortable, I might say, but clearly identified.

There was a later time when, with a rather painful shift in awareness, there was a me in relationship to other beings, places, environments and situations. A sort of more co-operative being that took some responsibility for causing waves as well a being a victim of them. There is some sharing here; a spreading around of compost, you might call it, for the purpose of aiding growth of the vegetables – or flowers!

There comes now another time, which is beyond all understanding, as far as I am concerned, where I just do not know who this being is, in continuous stretches at any rate.  Sometimes yes, there is a me operating but then, there are other times, when I can only listen to what is being said, or imagined, by the saying or the imagining.  The confusion only subsides when the analysis subsides and is replaced with surrender.

This surrender is at its extreme when I am teaching embodiment, in groups, and the work is going very deep as the work becomes a synergy of the whole group. Then there is trust and I can let go.  What is let go is the separation, the personal, the abstracted- the work does the work and there is no other doer.  There is no doer! There is no me. There is a powerful sense of the teaching being the only clarity in a disintegrating field, with no certainty at all that re-assembly will take place. Sometimes it is a difficult and almost reluctant process and the body is the only resource. The body has to be relied on for its wisdom, memory and, perhaps, will.

Others acknowledge a change of state, sometimes of short duration, sometimes permanent. Others again, are aware of little happening in this time and place but very often there is later evidence that a door has opened. There are many doors, perhaps an unlimited number, and the choice to go through them or shut them is ours; although for a few, there is very little choice, only a vocation.

Most change is not at all dramatic.  Much of the time, there seem to be constants. Yesterday, Barbara and I were discussing the probability that the house we live in now, may well be the last that we share.  Not that I won’t travel but this is my home, and hers for the last 22 years.  It may well be that she stays here too, after I have gone.  It belongs to her family and the tenancy is probably secure.

It is Easter and there are family customs around that and the hunting for eggs, painted with one’s, portrait/caricature, hidden in trees and shrubs in the garden, to be found and boiled for a family breakfast. The number and ages of children, grand-children and great-grand-children, varies, of course, from year to year but the tradition seems changeless.  It is four generations already, which seems great but the timescale is minute in terms of earth-time, never mind the universe.

Three of us live in this house; Barbara, her son, Julian (my stepson) and myself.  Many radical changes are taking place for each of us right now, particularly around the subjects of health and occupation-in both cases apparently for the better-which is nice. There is no permanence in either of these fields but we each seem to have some positive outlook right now about these things and about each other.

What we all try to do, of course, is to stop change happening; to resist it.  This is the suffering, the resistance. We get old, our friends move, the moth eat the cashmere and the milk goes off. My hair falls out (that was years ago) and my belly sags. I can’t stop the changes.

Weird perhaps, to think this way, but it doesn’t matter.  Night has changed into day, the Spring is fantastic, here and now and I have spent half the morning talking with people about the future. That is what is here!

The future, is what I was talking about and is what I am writing about, right now. Past present and future-right here.

Here is a very Zen statement that equates change with time….Life is a journey, not a destination and the only reality is here and now. This moment right now, is no more because this reality goes as soon as it comes, therefore time is an illusion and does not exist!

I like to say that if we are attentive to the working of the body, on the one hand and the expansions and contractions of the universe and everything in it, on the other hand, we can see the futility of resisting change.

That is what we should not do.  Is there anything perhaps that we should do? I would say there is and that is to cultivate a sense of freshness in the moment and its difference to the last moment. This is a continuing and continual expansion of awareness with no finite end. Birth and death, in this paradigm, cease to be absolute events but rather, become signposts, markers, in a continuum of consciousness.

Carl Jung said We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. There is an implication in this that there is a relationship between the illusion of permanence, and judgment.  If I think change is a bad thing and that things should remain as they are, or in some views, always were, in the good old days, then I am causing suffering to growth and to myself.

The tide goes out and the tide come is.  There is only change.

The Tide goes deep and deeper still.


I do not hold, it has gone on.


Here the pain. Not me to fix.


Ever deeper, where now the pain?


All doing done, who holds

who is held?


The void

Still in the Ocean,

the unformed stirs.

Dark meets light and incarnates.

You and I are we. It was ever thus.

Where now the loss?

Mike Boxhall

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