Yin and Yang. The concept of change, so it seems, came from simple observations about nature, made in ancient China. The farmers noticed how the slopes of a mountain, slowly transform from light into shade, as the sun makes its way across the sky. Change is constant, natural, ever-happening and of objective nature.
It is us who give it a value of good or bad.
Much had been said and written about change; wise sayings such as ‘The only constant is change’, and ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often’. I wish to avoid clichés and stating the obvious. That is unlikely to happen, but here I go… These days I keep my hair not only short but bald. Or so I tell myself. It is a summer thing with me. I do this for a few weeks, maybe a couple of months; then I get tired of the daily ritual and let it grow. Admittedly, not by much; I still like it short, but instead of daily, I cut it only every couple of weeks. How does my hairdo tie with the topic of this post? It occurred to me the other day that, at least as much as keeping the bald appearance is concerned, when I shave my head in the morning and consider my job done for the day, that is only an illusion. Hour later, when I pass my hand over my bald head, I can already feel the growth. In fact, not an hour, a minute, a second passes from the moment the razor clears the skull, and the hair is already sprouting. It never actually stops; not even while I cut it. The only difference is that, for a while, my perception is that my head is clean-shaven. Hmm…
This observation led me to look at other aspects of change and perception. A most obvious one may be observing kids. Whom among us never uttered the most corny words, “Oh my, how much have you grown.” If you never said it, you likely heard it more than once from some distant relative, who had not seen you in ages. We do not notice change, and what we do not notice, we do not typically acknowledge. Do I feel the gazillion activities that take place inside my body as I sit at the coffee shop and write this post? So many tiny transformation are happening inside my body right now. By the same token, do I realize the passing time, the changing weather, the movement of the Earth? I do not, unless… Unless something happens that will call my attention to it.
This begs the question – should I attempt to be aware all the time to all the changes that take place? Is that even humanely possibly? I mean, I want to live in the moment, in the present, in the now, but there is so much I can absorb and comprehend at any given time. Yet, so my experience had taught me, people who do not notice transformation, do not acknowledge change, tend to be left behind; me at times included. Such persons become the guards of old values. They fight with passion against anything that may shake their world. Is that bad? Good?
Neither. Change will happen. It is unstoppable, imminent. History teaches this to us time and again. Social changes, political changes, climate changes… We can slow it down, we can choose to ignore it, but like the persistent growth of my hair, it is already in motion, 24/7, 365 days a year. Oh yes, I should mention, that for naturally bald guys, those who may say their hair does not grow? For many the hair still grows, but it is soooo slow that it cannot be noticed. And even if it stops growing altogether, other changes in the cells still take place.
All this talk about change is nice and dandy, but it still does not address my earlier question – should I, if it is even possible, be attuned to all the changes that take place, all the time?
My conclusion, at least for now, is as follows:
I am not wired to be able to absorb all the changes all the time. Such a flux, at least for me, would create an overflow that will likely fry my brain… That is, if it is not already fried, though for other reasons. What I can do is acknowledge that what I see as constants are, in fact, just temporary perceptions. As such, it allows me to create space for accepting transformations with greater ease; even if I will only observe those when something more dramatic occurs, or, when enough change took place as to be noticed.
It was morning only a couple of hours ago; now it is almost noon. I just noticed it. Rather than proclaim, “where did the time go?” and, as a result, possibly have a negative reaction for ‘wasting’ my time writing, I simply move on with an acknowledgment: “oh, it’s almost noon.” Nothing more, nothing less.
Yet, as conclusive as this may sound, my deductions too are bound by the laws of nature; and as such, they too are changing even as these final words are being written.
Learned from: hair growth.