Change can be unsettling, frightening and a cause of great concern. Especially when unexpected, change can leave us reeling, questioning and in a considerable state of distress. I believe this has a lot to do with our sense of control – not that we’re necessarily control freaks as such but that as humans we feel safer and more secure when our lives are predictable and running smoothly. When we experience sudden change, our status quo is altered and we are left feeling vulnerable and powerless. In times like this it’s human nature to cling to our past, the way things used to be and to urgently resist these new changes with all our might.
In my experience (and I have experienced sudden and traumatic changes in my life) I have found the following, an excerpt from Sogyal Rinpoche’s ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’ (1992, pg 34) the most helpful way to remain at peace and manage change around me, even when it seems that the hand I have been dealt is more than I can possibly bear. I suggest using a coin as the object, it helps to actually do as instructed to get the full meaning from the teaching.
Imagine that you have an object in your hand.
Clutch it tightly in your fist.
Extend your arm, with the palm of your hand facing the ground.
Now if you let go or relax your grip, you will lose what you are holding.
That’s why you hold on.
Now try this.
You can let go and yet keep hold of whatever you have in your hand.
With your arm still outstretched, turn your hand over so that your palm faces the sky.
Release your hand and the object still rests on your open palm.
You have let go but you still have a hold.
What do you think? Do you think this exercise could be a useful one in managing change that occurs in your life?