Mindfulness helps with life's inevitable changes

Recognizing the nature of reality and ourselves, we must accept the inescapable fact of change.

Rapid and recognizable changes – such as the weather, the time of day, the day of the week, the daily news, and our movements, conversations and thoughts throughout each day – conceal the less perceptible yet constant change in everything else, particularly what we take for granted as being solid and stable.

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This includes our bodies, our relationships and the seemingly unchangeable objects we see and interact with each day. We are surprised and upset when mechanical possessions – like our cars, appliances and hot water tanks – wear down or break down. Should we be?

We grieve the loss of our loved ones when they age, become ill and die. We may be thrown into turmoil when we have discovered that our most important and seemingly stable relationships have changed or ended.

Though we do know that we will age, are subject to illness and accident, and one day will die, we act each day as if our bodies and our sense of self is stable and permanent. When we notice grey hairs, wrinkles, arthritic pains and the other signs of aging, often we are unhappily caught by surprise. Why should we be surprised?

If we are more mindful of the impermanent, ever changing nature of all things, including our very selves, we won’t be so shocked. We may accept rather than lament change, and we will no longer ride a roller coaster of emotions with the inevitable changes of life.

We can be dynamically responsive to change as if swimming as part of the ocean. Accept what you cannot change, but change what you cannot accept. When something is wrong or something is needed, speak up for others and yourself. Help where you can. You always can.

Each day, we face fleeting opportunities to do good or grand things to help others. More often than not, most of us let those opportunities pass, and good intentions do not lead to action.

At the end of each day – and the end of your life, will you regret the good you could have done but didn’t? The kind words you thought of saying but didn’t?

The easiest role to play is that of the cynical critic – to judge others and complain about what’s wrong with the world. Each of us can feel this way at times, but society can only be made better by those who see a better future and act on it.

Be the change you want to see. See the change you want to be.

Being dynamically responsive to change, we recognize that old habits and routines no longer make sense in a changing world. The old ways of seeing ourselves and thinking about the world no longer make sense. Old ways of relating don’t work.

We must consciously recreate ourselves and our lives, rewrite our life stories and continually create greater meaning each and every day.

Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician. For more on positive potential, visit davidicuswong.wordpress.com.

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