A time for change

The New Year that begins on January 1st is rather special because it has recognition and acceptability the world over. It is a day not only for celebration but is also one that ushers in the hope of change for the better.

It is in tune with this spirit that New Year resolutions are made. Unfortunately, the impetus fades with time, reducing them to broken promises. Why does this happen?
The desire to change is fuelled by the need to grow. However, all growth entails suffering, something every living creature avoids. From birth to death, progress is generally marked by pain.

The infant learns to stand and take its first steps only by falling over and hurting itself several times; adolescence is a time of turbulence; marriage a matter of give and take; parenthood involves responsibility and hard work and the sunset years of one’s life is bereft of peace without the hard-won consolations of spirituality.

Any change is an uphill task and it is not surprising that many give up the struggle and choose the comfort of remaining where they are.

It is, however, a specious decision. In a fast-moving world, failure to keep up with the times is to fall behind it.

As the Queen in Alice in Wonderland pointed out, ‘You have to keep running to remain where you are.’ In other words, not to go forward is to go backward.

It is clear that changes in Life are inevitable and success comes to those that adapt to them. They are, of course, varied and can be physical, mental or spiritual. Bodily ones are those that are readily perceived and can cause a great deal of tension. Today much emphasis is placed on a youthful appearance. When pursued mindlessly, it can cause a great deal of harm.

Mental advance calls for perseverance and hard work. Shortcuts are available today, but they are neither long-lasting nor profitable. Spiritual progress is often treated as a preserve of the elderly and ignored for too long.

In all these spheres, if change is accepted and worked upon with a will, it becomes rewarding as well as enjoyable.

Change works best when attempted in the spirit of this season. As this true story illustrates, it requires the guiding touch of tolerance and understanding. S was a person who was anxious, depressed and selfish.

Soon everyone around him told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to change. Though he resented it, he knew that they were right. Eventually even his closest friend began advising him to change. It only made him feel powerless, trapped and even more obdurate.

Then one day his friend told him, ‘Don’t change if you don’t want to. You know I care for you even as you are!’ The words came as music to his ears. “Don’t change, I care for you as you are’ reverberated in his heart and mind. He relaxed, he felt alive and a healing change swept over him!

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