From Buddha to Lao Tsu to Jesus the Christ, every great spiritual teacher speaks mostly of the constant and inexorable nature of change, and how to deal with it.
I am often struck by the similarities between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the Buddha and Lao Tsu. There are 20 years, give or take, when we do not know where Jesus was. Many have speculated. Was he in an ashram, a monastery? Traveling with Uncle Joe to Glastonbury, England? Traveling to India? Persia? Mystery schools?
Here’s an interesting take on Jesus’ missing years:
I’m digressing though. I’ll want to cover some of the more esoteric aspects of Jesus in another post but for now, I just want to share my morning ruminations about change.
The wheel is turning
and you can’t slow down
You can’t let go
and you can’t hold on
You can’t go back
and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you
then the lightning will !
Lao Tsu speaks of the only constant in existence, which is change. So do contemporary quantum physicists.
We can’t hold on, and keep change from happening, and we can’t let go of the wheel, it drags us, pushes us, pulls us along. Lao Tsu mentions the dusty world, everything rises and falls, nothing is permanent, not even Lao Tsu. Or his teachings.
There are so many allegories for change…rivers come to mind. Buddha speaks of the river. The river is there, but always different. Nothing lasts. Form is an illusion, form itself is constantly changing.
So how do we deal with it?
I’ve found that when I hold on and try to keep change from happening, I only suffer fear and frustration.
When I can let go and ride the change, it’s a thrilling roller coaster, it’s a whitewater rafting trip. The best way to enjoy the roller coaster (or whitewater!) is to relax and enjoy the suddenness of change. Love is the key.
When Jesus is in the Garden, he prays to His Father to let him avoid the wrenching changes about to happen. He is afraid, as we all are. This is what is so beautiful about the Passion; Jesus shows his humanity so that we can realize it is OK to fear change, but we have to go through with it.
Then Jesus literally sacrifices himself on the Cross of Change, the cross of earthy existence to show us that we too must willingly and lovingly sacrifice ourselves to change and to love. We must die to the world in order to transcend the world.
We must let God’s will take us where it will take us, and practice Love, the greatest gift we have to give to each other. When we fully surrender, change is….doable (to use some 21st Century slang).
So, I’ve not revealed anything new here, there is nothing really new under the sun. I’ve mostly reminded myself of the nature of existence, and change, and the way to deal.
1 Corinthians 13 comes to mind. Here it is. I love you!
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.