What does change mean? Do we ever change? What is it that changes, if anything? Looking deeply into the concept of change, what is it?
A leaf changes from bud, to spring green, to summer green, to autumn rust, to shriveled up. It goes through change but in reality, it is still a leaf. Buddhism talks about impermanence as a fact of life and therefore, everything changes constantly. Like the leaf. And our challenge is to yield to that.
I’d like to think that I can implement change. Change that I think I’m in charge of. I’m not talking about the changes that happen without my input, as in regards to my aging, (what happens to the leaf also happens to me). I’m talking about things like changing where I live, changing my job, changing my clothing style, etc. I can choose changes like that and make them happen.
With such changes I need to act. And I like to act. I feel alive through action and possibly also, through changes. No doubt, I have implemented many changes in my life, especially, in regards to where I live. The longest I’ve lived in one place is six years and now, I’m sixty two. I’ve also changed careers. From working in the hospitality business to becoming an artist and a teacher.
However, when I look at my desires and passions, I see the budding adolescent girl of yesteryear, going through her natural changes like the leaf. What I mean is: how much have I really changed? I used to love riding my bike. I still do. I used to love having fun with my friends. I still do. I used to love writing stories and drawing pictures. I still do. I used to love exploring the woods. I still do. I used to love writing in my diary. I still do. I used to love being with my family. I still do.
Looking deeply into your desires and passions may reveal who you are and the choices for change that you make may ultimately be driven by them. What I’m trying to point out is how our actions for change look like real change to others and often also, to ourselves, but that the choice for change is a consequence of unchanging desires and passions.
Going back to the Leaf we do change and we can observe change by looking back and we can imagine change by looking forward.
Dan Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, says:
“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”
Here’s Dan Gilbert talking about Your Future Self