Change Is The Principle Of Life
“You’ve got to make a conscious choice every day to shed the old – whatever “the old” means for you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach
“In order to be who you are, you must be willing to let go of who you think you are,” asserts Michael Singer in his acclaimed book, The Untethered Soul. Our self-perception is a mental construct that does not represent who we are. The image of the Self is formed to preserve our position in the world and points to who we represent. From the moment of birth, we identify with our human form and build an identity around it. As we mature from childhood into adulthood, this image is reinforced for the rest of our life. Yet our lives are nothing more than the accumulation of past conditioning. You are not who you are today as a result of your past, but because of your past. By letting go of who you used to be, you allow the authentic self to emerge instead of concealing it behind an imagined self.
If we discard our identity, what is left? The core self, the deepest part of our spiritual being. How do we recognise this Self? It has been with us throughout eternity and while we identify with our body and mind as separate; we disconnect from it. We ignore our feelings by suppressing our emotions, to dissociate from painful moments. Our lives fall apart and we cannot see the writing on the wall; despite the obvious signs we turn a blind eye to. I want you to recognise your primary state is not one of anxiety, fear or stress. These are learned states shaped through your environment. A child knows nothing of these ideas until it gains them through their conditioning. We are the simple pure awareness at the core of our being. Does this make sense that you are more than your thoughts or emotions because these are fleeting states? Something that is fleeting is non-permanent and hence why we shouldn’t attach ownership of it.
We must be vigilant against identifying with such labels, since it limits our evolution as a soulful being. Think of a baby elephant tethered to a stake in the ground. Whilst it matures to full size, it remains unaware of its potential, having accepted its limitations from an early age. Similarly, we cannot assume our sole character will carry us through life and not be receptive to change. We must transform ourselves to cultivate our strengths. It is through pain we experience life’s contrasts and awaken to our humanity. To let go of who we used to be is comparable to the caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. Change is the principle of life; we reframe change to coincide with our evolutionary development instead of regarding it as undesirable. Considering this, I invite you to connect with your deepest wisdom. While it may sound like New Age mumbo jumbo, at the very least, it is your connection to your spiritual essence.
Let Go Of The Person You Used To Be
“The knowledge of the past stays with us. To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit.” – Jack Kornfield
For example, who is the person behind your beliefs, thoughts, and ideas? If I asked who you think you are, you’d recite a list of past achievements, and what you do for a living. But who are you now, in this moment? It commands courage to discard the old self since we don’t know who we will become. As children, we assume our self-image from trusted authorities. Yet, as adults, the role is assumed by us, which means having to navigate the treacherous road to discover our self-identity. What if we get it wrong? What if we don’t like who we become? What if change is painful and we want to go back to our former self? We can take refuge knowing, as long as we are moving toward the person we wish to be, we are heading in the right direction. There are no assurances, yet knowing that pain is temporary is testament to the purpose it serves, even though it unbeknown to us. Authors Phil Stutz and Michels Barry remind us that: “Pain is the universe’s way of demanding that you continue to learn. The more pain you can tolerate, the more you can learn.”
We must be careful to avoid settling as we traverse the journey to wholeness. People assume, “This is who I am and I cannot change.” This is erroneous thinking, since one’s identity is fluid, enduring constant change over the course of our lifetime. Equally, character is shaped and formed from an early age, yet it remains malleable throughout life. We adapt to our environment in line with our changing needs. The individual you knew as single in your twenties is not the same person as when you’re married with children in your forties. We believe our character is fixed, and this misconception stands in the way of attaining inner freedom. Ultimately, our willingness to let go of the person we used to be creates a space for the person we have been all along; the complete wholeness of the eternal self.