Balance in times of change
Part 2 - Moving into faith
In my previous blog we touched on how attachment to our emotions, the fleeting senses and yearnings or desires can mislead and de-stabilise us. In this blog we’re exploring and touching upon something bigger than our ‘small’ lives - consciously choosing to expand our awareness and to learn to trust in something bigger and greater than ourselves…
The transient and the unchanging
The Bhagavad Gita is the written record of a dialogue between Krishna (who represents our higher self) and Arjuna, who represents each one of us as we strive to understand ourselves and the world around us. It is an ancient yogic text, and, although this dialogue is reported to have taken place over 5000 years ago, it is still 100% applicable to our modern lives.
In the verse below Krishna talks about “fleeting perceptions of happiness or distress”. Fleeting implies a short and transient time frame. A knowing, that, from a higher perspective, emotions and thoughts are simply passing through. They are caused by chemical changes in the body, reactions and observations that, depending on the circumstances, change. If we choose put our trust and faith in these impermanent things - we will inevitably end up feeling hurt and betrayed.
Bhagavd Gita 2:14
O Arjuna, the contact between the senses and the sense objects give rise to fleeting perceptions of happiness and distress. These are non-permanent, and come and go like the winter and summer seasons. O descendent of Bharat, one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
Krishna also indicates in this verse that there is something, some essence, that is beyond the physical senses - a watcher - some part of us that can become tolerant to the changes around us - ‘without being disturbed by them’.
This then begins to explain what is transient i.e. our perceptions, judgements, emotions, senses and desires - and what is permanent - the part of us that observes everything without becoming entangled. Beyond our thoughts and emotions we can begin to awaken our conscious awareness and ‘tune in’ to the eternal nature of who we are.
Change is the only changeless law
A sometimes reassuring yet often times frustrating adage states that “change is the only changeless law” - implying that everything that we can see and perceive and understand is constantly in flux. Think of a river - although it seems to stay in the same place day after day, the water contained within it is ever new and changing, gradually wearing away and forging a new course. From the tiniest atom to the galactic systems of the universe - EVERYTHING we can touch, see and perceive is in some way, at some point in time, susceptible to change - even if it’s over aeons…
If attachment to the transient nature of our senses and things brings us pain - what are we supposed to do? Go to a cave and meditate for the rest of our lives?
Of course, it’s unlikely to be in our dharma to go and retreat into a cave in the Himalaya until we dissociate with our senses - which, let’s face it, could take a few millennia… So how do we live a powerful, happy life right here in the modern world - where everything seems to be tied up with responsibilities and having enough money to pay the mortgage, fund the kids through school and put food on the table - and if we’re lucky attend a few yoga classes to keep us balanced?
There is one main principle that will help us all maintain a sense of calm, peace and balance whatever happens in our lives - and that is trust and it’s slightly more subtle partner, faith.
Moving from trust to faith
Faith and trust are powerful qualities that can reassure and help you feel that everything is okay. That only thing is - we have to first consciously STEP OUT of the controlled, small, box-like thinking we’re in and move into an expanded, open acceptance. Trust is a verb, you DO it - give it - to yourself, others and 'the system'. Trust tends to be based on fact and past experiences.
Acceptance of the flow of life allows you to trust others and the universe.
And faith? Faith is a noun - and it's something that doesn’t need to have a tangible basis in fact. It is a belief in something you can’t necessarily see, but somehow you know at a deeper level to be true. The dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something”.
This means that sometimes you have to have faith that everything is going to be okay - even though you can’t see how yet. Even when circumstances seem impossible, faith requires us to not to get caught up in trying to figure out HOW things are going to be resolved. We just keep on keeping on and ‘trust’ all will turn out well. Therefore, faith also means letting go of the things you cannot control. Here I quote the Serenity Prayer - a great comfort for me in some of my darkest moments:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
Shraddha, in my experience, is something deeper still - it’s an unshakable conviction. This is where you realise that the small ‘you’ is not in control, and something infinitely bigger and more capable is. It’s important that you don’t feel disempowered by this concept - and neither does it diminish your responsibility… We must all still strive to give our very best to everything we do, but instead of thinking we are the sole ‘doer’ we now become the co-creator and co-collaborator in our lives. It is especially important to step into Shraddha if ever you feel overwhelmed by responsibilities, if you feel you cannot cope or it’s simply too much.
My first step for moving into a space of shraddha is this adage: “the universe will never give you anything that you cannot handle.”
If you can, even in some small way, accept that you ARE capable to handle anything that gets thrown at you, then it’s but a simple 'hop skip and a jump' into feeling totally empowered that, somehow or another, the universe thinks you ARE ready for this!!!
1. Notice if you’ve felt overwhelmed or out of control today - and if so, can you now evoke the qualities of trust/ faith that everything is going to be okay?
2. Write out “change is the only changeless law” on a post it and stick it on your fridge. Read it regularly and remind yourself that everything is changing - and that change is not only okay but to be welcomed in :-)
3. Write out the adage “the universe will never give me anything I cannot handle” on an A4 bit of paper and put it where you can see it. This is especially effective if you put it where you may get overwhelmed by your responsibilities e.g. your desk at work, the kitchen table etc. Every time you see your poster, feel a sense of support, joy and acceptance embracing you.
Thank you once again for joining me in this deeper exploration - touching upon the powerful qualities that help us to stay balanced in times of change.
Please do comment below and share your experiences of faith and trust :-)
Awakening to the Cosmic Spiral
with Chandra Goswami
This powerful sequence helps you to attune to the cycles of nature & the expanse of the universe. Feel connected and empowered to live a life of harmony and abundance.
Meditation for Inner Balance
with John Jones
Use this short meditation to find a place of deep stillness and inner balance. It’s perfect if you’re busy or stressed, or if you need to create a bit more space around you.