A MEDITATION ON THE AWESOMENESS (AND INEVITABILITY) OF CHANGE
Don’t like change? This meditation may change your mind.
Recently I sat down to meditate and quite spontaneously the idea came to me that today, instead of focusing on my breath or things that come in to my awareness (cars passing by; itch behind my left knee; feelings of agitation, boredom or whatever) I should instead notice things as they vanish. As in, stay with whatever is happening in the meditation until it disappears. Until it is in the past.
What happened next was quite profound. I had the sense; the direct experience or knowing; that every single thing we do, see, hear and feel is the first and last time we’ll ever experience that exact thing – in that exact moment – ever.
What a revelation!
Change is happening MOMENT TO MOMENT. If you’re stuck – in a job, in a marriage, in an emotional sh*t-storm – what a relief to know that nothing is the same as it was, like, 5 minutes ago. THINGS CHANGE.
And if you’re resisting change – also, what a relief! To realise that change is not such a big deal after all. Because literally, nothing is that same as it was, like, 5 minutes ago.
YOU’VE GOT THIS.
This is a meditation on change.
First getting comfy. And adjusting your body so that you can rest comfortably in a relaxed but alert way without needing to move too much for the duration of this meditation.
And bringing some awareness to your immediate surroundings. Wherever you are. Indoors or outdoors. Alone or with others. Sitting, standing, or laying down. Paying attention to however you are.
And knowing that you’re here… and not over there – by the touch of your hands.
Honing your focus in on your hands touching each other, or touching your thighs. Feeling the skin, feeling the temperature and texture of your fingers and your palms and the back of your hands.
And if you’ve not really paid much attention to the breath today, then we’ll mark this moment with three big sighs.
Three deliberate deep breaths where the exhale draws out slightly longer than the inhale and there’s a pause at the bottom.
Deliberately switching off any tense, short breathing you may be experiencing, and encouraging a deeper, more relaxed natural breath.
And any time through this meditation you can always bring your hands and your breath back into the foreground of your awareness as a reminder of where you are. Here in your body, here in this moment.
And for this meditation we’ll spend some time examining the idea of impermanence.
The fact that nothing lasts. And everything changes.
And that every single moment we have will be the first and the last time we’ll ever experience that one unique moment.
The last time I’ll ever speak these exact words in this exact way.
And the last time you’ll ever hear them on this day, at this time, in this precise situation again.
Or, the last time you’ll ever experience this breath.
This very in-breath. And this very out-breath. Ever again.
It really is quite a miracle. That nothing lasts, bestows us the gift of appreciating everything while it’s still here. And that everything changes; a comforting reminder during times of pain and anguish.
So let’s try to develop this understanding in meditation by focusing not only on things as they arise, but trying to stay with them until after they vanish.
Just sitting wherever you are ready to receive with an open awareness of your surroundings.
Ready to receive sounds.
To receive sensations in the body.
To receive thoughts and emotions.
To receive each and every breath.
And as the observer of all these occurrences, whichever is the most dominant in any given moment, staying with it until it vanishes. Until it disappears.
Every second of a ticking clock.
Every car that passes by.
Every itch that you scratch or leave to fizzle out on its own.
Try to stay with these moments until all that’s left is the space on the other side. A momentary blankness that marks the start of something new. A space for a brand-new moment to arise, pass on through, and then vanish gracefully into the past.
And see what’s it’s like to relate to all these moments not as if they were our last – but because they are.
Feel free to keep this going in silent meditation. And come back to the hands and the breath whenever you’ve lost the connection.