Stone broken into four on a path

The courage & pain of change

Thinking of how things change, it seems such a complex process fraught with risk, courage and, potentially, pain. Isn’t it almost always a case of rejecting something we previously thought to be true? This mysterious process of examining our own behaviour, our thinking, to reach the point of somehow deciding to do differently – extricating ourselves from the ideas which formed us to choose our own.

Yet, as thinking beings, how can we do otherwise? It seems strange that, despite our capacity to think for ourselves, we might never challenge what we were handed; that “being human” might simply mean carrying forward whatever ideas were already here. Still, it can’t be easy to raise yourself above the thinking surrounding you and decide to think differently: where do we stand to do so?

Almost as if we’re in this sea of ideas – those informing the systems supporting our existence; those predominating within our culture or society; those people with influence over us felt worthy of passing on – and need to somehow see clearly what it is “we” should do. Isn’t that what we offer, as humans? Our understanding; our judgement; our choices between available options.

In that, how are we to stand against what went before? To decide that, in our eyes, things seem different and, despite standing on the shoulders of the ideas and individuals that brought us here, we feel other paths are those we should now be taking. Maybe that’s simply progress? Seeing reality with fresh eyes.

At this point it does just seem we stand within potentially flawed thinking and the compounded problems that’s created – this whole inertia of “how things are” that’s often falling short of our ideals. As if we’re standing in this fast-flowing river of strange choices as our global world merges and our ideas must rise to match it.

How are we to navigate that convergence? Consider things from all perspectives while heightening our own awareness of our thinking, where it came from and what its aims were. Isn’t that what the modern world asks of us? To broaden our horizons, put ourselves in others’ shoes, and see how everything looks from there.

On any level, though, change – abandoning old ideas to weave in new ones – is confronting. Inevitably, there’s resistance in going against the grain of expectations or explaining yourself to others. Then, the loneliness of feeling misunderstood or cast aside by those not seeing the value of your path. And, frustration at the weight of this collective challenge before us and difficulty in getting even one person to shift their thinking.

While trying to make reality match our ideals takes courage, isn’t it also fairly likely we’d be hurt by the process? That, knowing what people are like, we may feel disappointed we tried. That, our desire for improvement upsetting the balance, we’ll come upon that immovable mountain of others, perhaps naturally, digging in their heels. If we’re convinced things matter, though, perhaps it’d also be best to find a way through.

Notes and References:

Somewhere between ideals & realities
Any choice but to take a stand?
Ways of living in the world
Gaining clarity on the choices before us
Bringing things into awareness
Will things change if we don’t make them?
What we create by our presence
Is telling people what we want to be true a lie?
The value of a questioning attitude?
Respect, rebellion & renovation

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