If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. – Lao Tzu
What does that mean?
This is another Twitter friendly short quote. The longer version of the quote goes into the ultimate change, and why not fearing it leaves you free to do anything:
“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
Things change. That is the only constant thing in life. Technology changes and changes us. The weather changes, and that results in changes for us.
Our bodies and minds change, and that too changes us. What is there to hold on to which does not change? With that in mind, is there anything to which you need to cling?
And if we understand that even our very lives will change, and eventually go away, why fear death? For those who aren’t afraid of death, is there anything they wouldn’t try?
Why is recognizing that all things change important?
Think about it, you’ve changed. Your experiences today make you a different, however small that change might be, from the person you were yesterday. Next week, you’ll be even more different. In a decade, you’ll hardly recognize yourself, you will likely have changed that much. Really.
Your friends have changed, both as individuals and as groups. People move into and out of your circles and even your neighborhood. Yes, you may keep in touch with some, but is that really holding on to who they were, or are you allowing both you and they to grow and to change?
The seasons change, some places being unseasonably warm, others quite cold. Some places that usually have snow are without, and others which are normally bare are instead, buried. Next week will be different. Do you cling to the weather? What do you cling to, and why do you do so?
We all know that things change, yet somehow we are also reluctant to let go. Sometimes we actively try to prevent change. Sometimes that can be noble, but it is always futile. That doesn’t mean we do nothing, but it does mean we must realize what we are doing, and how it will end. Ignoring change will not cause it to cease.
Where can I apply this in my life?
That would depend on where in your life you tend to try to thwart the inevitable. Change is coming. Change is happening. Change has always been happening. Change is inevitable (except from a vending machine). As you learn, your thoughts change. As your thoughts change, your beliefs change.
That is part of the natural progression of life. Unless you fight it. We all fight against some of it from time to time. I fight against ageing. I work out, both my body and my mind. But I know even with this effort, I am still changing, and that I am only delaying the inevitable.
That isn’t what this quote is about. In my mind, this quote is about the things you try to keep the same, despite the natural changes which are occurring. Trying to hold on to our party-all-night era. Trying to wear trendy clothes after we are a bit beyond that. Trying to keep your cat a kitten.
Where are you trying to deny the natural laws of the universe? And how well are you doing? Really, not how you imagine you are doing, but how is it actually working for you? There are those who use a variety of drugs or treatments to try to remain the same. But who are they fooling?
The underlying question is what’s the reason you are doing such things? What do you hope to accomplish? If you can come up with a reason for each of these things, then you can try to deconstruct what you did and why you wanted to do so. Once you finish that, you can try to change your behavior.
Wow, there’s that word again. Will you change, or do you want to keep doing the same things for the same reasons for the rest of your life? Can you imagine an eighty year old man still dressing as a 1950’s greaser? Or a similarly aged lady in a poodle skirt? So dude, what do you still do that might be a bit silly, like, you know? 8)
Times change, and so does everything else. Some things change slowly, others more rapidly. But they do change. Even our status as living will change at some point. That cannot be stopped. If you spend your time fearing that change, you will lose a great deal of time and opportunity.
That isn’t to say we should do dangerous things just because, but that we shouldn’t hide ourselves from any chance of change. Far too many people live in fear (or is that an oxymoron?) of change. They lose opportunity for fun, for experiences, and for learning which might not be possible any other way.
Don’t let fear of change stop you. Don’t waste your time clinging on to those things which will change despite your best attempts to stop it. Know that there is a time for change, and change with it. All things have a beginning, and all things have an end. Between these times, there will be other changes.
Do not be afraid, embrace the change.
From: Twitter, @ZenProverbs
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/laotzu164556.html
Photo by Dawn Ellner