In my last blog entry I wrote about the onset of spring. I would like to continue with this topic by focusing on something that has fascinated me for the past four decades: the ever-changing aspects of Mother Nature.
Everything that falls under the category of the material universe, including the mind and emotions, has a starting point, remains in existence for a certain period of time, and ends when its cycle is completed. For example, by the time I finish writing this sentence, cells in my body have taken birth, will remain in existence for a while, and then die. At this very moment, the cellular structure of my body is a microcosm of this remarkable, fluctuating macrocosm we call the universe. Nothing remains the same forever. There is no altering this law of nature. Einstein hit the nail on the head when he concluded that you cannot destroy or create matter but only learn to flow with its ever-changing nature.
If you are not prepared to deal with this fact, you may find it difficult to deal with the unknown possibilities that lie ahead for each of us. Fear of change is common, and with today’s financial and environmental changes, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the air. Certain changes are cyclical and therefore predictable, while others appear suddenly, forcing the unknown down our throats. And then, on the other hand, some of the changes are welcome, such as the birth of a child after its nine-month stay in Mom’s womb.
Nature’s cycle of seasons is one of the predictable changes (check out our previous blog entry “Spring Ahead”), yet even within this recurring change of weather, the unpredictable still exists. Cycles are changes in patterns. In a way they are the constants in life, and they offer us opportunities to remain available to the winds of change.
Our relationship to the ever-changing nature of life forms the foundation for mental and emotional balance. While the predictable cycles that include birthdays, the seasons, and the moon cycles are easily accepted as a part of life, there are other changes we wish would go away and leave us alone. Tropical cyclones most definitely fall under this category. They arrive suddenly, with only a few days notice, and their cycling winds and unrelenting rain can cause a fair amount of damage. Thankfully, they are not permanent fixtures on the landscape, and eventually the sun shines once again.
Mental and emotional cyclones are also unpredictable and can damage our relationship with others. However, even these cycles have a beginning, a middle, and an eventual end. For better or for worse, if we are upset and wait a bit, the painful feelings will subside (for a while). Similarly, even joyful moments spent with loved ones will end. Everything changes, so the question is: How comfortable are you with those changes? Those who know how to navigate through the unexpected tempest fare well, while those who are lacking this skill get blown around and sucked into the vortex.
Just like the seasons, the lessons we need to learn seem to arrive in cycles. If we are unable to navigate agitating situations, they just might become cyclones, making it even more difficult to lessen our confusion or suffering. And if we do not learn the particular lesson embedded in the upset, we can always count on it returning at some future time. Like all things cyclical, these lessons have a purpose and are destined to reappear time and again to give us another shot at learning them.
I have heard it said that the compassionate universe always give us another chance . . . even if we would rather that it not be so generous. Change and cycles are inevitable. We are born, we learn how to live in society, some become parents, we age, and at some point, we begin preparing for our departure. A lifetime of possibilities cycle before us, and whether we are aware or not, the lessons keep coming.