Even in a cave you can't escape change

Photo © Jenn Shallvey 2015

Photo © Jenn Shallvey 2015

Let me tell you a story.  There was a man (or woman – your choice how you read the story) who was living in a cave. This man had all the basics and necessities to live. He had shelter. He had fire. He had tools.  He had access to fresh water. He could hunt and gather food. He had everything to keep him alive. The cave also gave him a sanctuary and safety from other less well-intentioned beings.

He lived in his cave day in and day out.  All that he had to know about change was that the sun went up and down in the sky. It was to him the eternal symbol of change. No minute of the day was the same-the sun was always moving into a different place. (We will park aside his ignorance that it was the Earth that actually moved.) 

So he would watch the sun and see it move. He got to seeing that this moving and changing sun was actually doing the same thing every day. It was in a cycle of its own and he could predict it happening. He noticed the sun also changed position depending on how many times it had gone around and changed.  He also noticed that when the sun moved in different ways there were changes in temperature and weather. He did not call these changes seasons but to you and me that is what he noticed. He saw the seasons of change.

Yet even these seasons became predictable.

So he got bored. Really bored. He watched the sun do the same thing every day and then saw the seasons change again and again.

Then one day he realised something else. HE was changing. Even though all that surrounded him seemed to him a repetitive cycle, he was not. He was not a cycle. Well there were parts of him that were cycles like his need to sleep and eat and pass waste. But there was this one thing in him that was NOT a cycle.

For the life of him he could not figure out why HE changed all the time.  He never went back to what he was before. Instead he was always every single second, minute, day a different person. He started to try and catch himself not changing but he could not find a way. Even his thoughts would take him to another place that meant he could not go back. 

Unlike the sun that repeated itself over and over again, he did not. He tried to be like the sun and created routines. He made a schedule with the sun telling him when to do things. When the sun came up he got up. When the sun went down he lay down to sleep.

He also started to do things with food that related to the change in seasons. He gathered certain food at certain times and stored these foods for when they were not readily available.  He was doing really well at creating routines in his life.  He was still puzzled though because with all the routines of his work established and his day as closely tied as possible to the routine of the sun and the seasons he was still changing. It was frustrating as he tried to cling and hold onto who he was before. He tried to go back to who he was but could find no way.

Then one day he came across a lake. The lake was still so that the light reflected back off of it. He leaned over and looked in the lake. He could see his reflection. In that moment he could see himself exactly as he was then and there. He was frozen in time. He was on pause without any aspect out of balance. In that split second of time he was NOT changing. This was news to him. It was only when he contemplated his life over a period of time that he could see this change. When he stopped and was in the moment he saw himself as exactly who he is now and not changing. It did not mater in that moment who he was before or who he was going to be in the future.

Aaaahhh this was a very peaceful and relaxing place to be.

All of the sudden a sense of calmness came over him. He thought to himself “I am changing all the time but in a moment I am impervious to change. In a moment I am aligned with nature and timelessness.”

He then realised that when he focused on the task at hand or where he was at that exact moment he worried less about the change, especially change not within his control like the sun.

So this place was peaceful and calm. Yet it was not perfect. It seemed also like a bit of an escape.  In that moment he forgot sometimes to plan for the weather changing or to store his food or prepare his fire. He got lost.  Then he realised that change was actually his friend. Change was the part of life that he got to enjoy that made life interesting.  For him to really truly enjoy life meant BOTH being in the moment and planning and reflecting. For him there were three places to be not just one. How exciting. Whereas the moon, stars, and sun kept going around in circles he could CHOOSE where to focus his attention.

It was with this empowering thought that he could see the benefit of reflection as a way to understand who he is and where he came from. He could also see the benefit of forward thinking so he could choose his direction and path and not be at the mercy of the world around him. Lastly he could be in the moment to bask in and enjoy all the beautiful and amazing synchronicity that is nature and human kind.

Jenn Shallvey