Malaika Durand-Kakudji

I was having a conversation the other day about life; actually it was about death (which is part of life). More specifically, it was about suicide. I know this is a very morbid topic to begin with, but stay with me. I was speaking to someone whom I hold in very high esteem. We broached the topic of despair, and the act of suicide. This is what I observed during the course of the discussion: “When someone commits suicide, it’s as if they believe that their situation- their state- will never change (for the better), when in fact, that is the only thing it can do”. I then realized that what we were really talking about was the nature of this reality, which is that of evolution or constant change. Whatever it is will change, and then change again. To resist change is to work against the flow of the Universe.

Why do I say that this life rests on the concept of change? Because, if we sit in observation of nature we will notice that nothing remains the same over a protracted time.  This example is very cliché, but very true. Since we are part of nature, it then follows that we (our physical selves) do not remain the same either. Deepak Chopra says that we inhabit several bodies in this lifetime. If you look in the mirror right now, you will not see the same face staring back at you as two years, or even six months ago. The change may be subtle, but it is undeniable. The body you inhabited at five years of age has now changed into what you see before you today. You would think that with something being so inevitable, we would have to accept it right?

Well, why is it exactly the opposite with most of us? I say “us”, because I have struggled with this myself. Why do we resist what is an absolute must? Because we are attached to things as they are, and fear the unknown. Attachment and fear are the result of the need for security as experienced by our egoic self. That is the simple answer, but anyone and everyone who has wrestled this knows that it is not so easy to accept having to let go. We want things to stay the way they are when they are going well.   Sometimes even when they are not going so well, at least we know what to expect, right?

I am here to tell you now that this is the basis of unnecessary suffering in our lives. I’ll use myself as an example (as usual), and let you in on one phase of my development. I was very reluctant to let go of the hope for a particular relationship even when it became apparent to me that it was useless. In fact, it was never a relationship. It was an unhealthy exchange between two insecure people. Anyway, I was finally forced to surrender when this individual moved away (and even then I tried to hold on). But this was after much intense heartbreak. So, fast forward some years later and it dawned on me that the entire time I was bound to this person, I had hinged the whole thing on one thing this person had said to me. One thing, which I thought was so life-changing, so important that I couldn’t let go.

It gets deeper. This statement, I now look back and realize that it may not even have been be true! It may have been, but that is not guaranteed. And you know what? That is fine. I have moved on thoroughly, so there is truly no emotion left from the memory but remembering it was like a key that gave me some insight into my behavior. Now I am willing to entertain the possibility that this may have been a fabrication, it may have been heartfelt, or it may have simply changed over time. Yet, here I was at the time subconsciously holding this person to that one statement. And worse yet, I was holding myself prisoner to what I thought it meant. I was resisting the change which was apparent: He no longer wanted to develop a relationship with me. The process was agonizing. It did not have to be though.

Now, the story has a happy ending-apart from being married to a very committed person- I have a lifelong lesson to apply when I need it. Since change is always going to be part of life, I always need it. This is the lesson: Sometimes we experience change as small or gradual and sometimes it is sudden, or unexpected or even dreaded. Either way, resisting is going to create more conflict, more sadness and more anger. What is the solution? Remember the example I gave you of nature being a template for change? Well, this example is important because of the cyclical basis of nature. It means that although things are constantly changing, there is constancy in the change! Isn’t that good news? We have the dry season and the rainy season every year, year after year. The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, day after day.

What this tells us is that the underlying essence of life is unwavering. Eventually, it all comes back around to the ultimate reality which is unseen and constant. Please rest in the awareness that there is more to life than that which we see with our physical eyes and know that your stability lies within. All change is eventually moving us in the direction of our origin, just like the hands on the face of a clock.  It does not mean that you should take leave of this reality and  not plan or visualize your future, but it simply means that you should work with whatever change is occurring and not against it. It then becomes easier to see the support which is always there for you. Develop stillness of the mind with meditation, that way you feel connected with our Source and are unfazed by the rolling landscape of this paradigm.

Below I have included a very simple tool called the Inner Ease Technique which will help you to feel calm no matter what change you are experiencing, or just to help you feel lighter! I practice this myself.

Inner ease technique

You can use this technique to affirm self-love and to reduce stress.  It will be most helpful if you try to use this technique three times a day for the next week.  It takes only a minute or two:  three simple steps:

Step 1:  Place your hand over your heart.  This gesture in itself releases oxytocin.
Step 2:  As you breathe, imagine your breath is coming in and out through the center of your heart.  This will drop you into your heart center.
Step 3:  On the in breath imagine you are breathing in compassion, ease, and love.  Exhale normally.

Try it right now and notice the change in energy you experience.  Do this exercise a couple of times each day.
You can also use this technique when you sense anxiety, fear, anger or any other stress producing emotion.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”  Charles Darwin