Years go by, unchanged. Then life changes, suddenly. What seemed unthinkable for years, happens. Without warning. This unpredictability is what gives our life its character. Things change. Situations change. Societies change. Even individuals change. Yet, human beings seem wired to resist change. We always seem to wish for status quo. This resistance to change gives rise to emotional conflicts within us and is at the heart of the emotional turmoil we experience.
Ironically, it is universally accepted that change is inevitable. Moreover, incremental change doesn’t affect us too much and is therefore easier to put up with. It’s those sudden, discontinuous, changes that are disruptive. To be sure, disruption is not always negative. It simply ensures that the way things were done or the way life was lived, doesn’t remain the same.
We have seen many discontinuous changes that have altered our lives forever. For instance, the Compact Disc format [CDs] introduced by Philips and Sony in 1980 suddenly changed the way we listened to music. Prior to that, tapes were the gold standard. CDs were far superior to tapes, and disrupted the music scene forever. We had to now buy CD players because CDs couldn’t be played on tape players. Similarly, digital cameras for still photography have changed the way we click pictures.
Films for still photography are almost extinct now. Many other telecommunication advances such as mobile phones, internet, and satellite television too have changed our lives beyond belief.A discontinuous change also disrupts the invisible realm of our personal lives. Such a change can be a voluntary choice or something inevitable that we must accept. A career switch into unexplored territory is a voluntary change. It’s planned and its consequences are anticipated. For example, I made a conscious decision a few years ago to be a full-time writer/editor against my original career choice of advertising and marketing management. This was a discontinuous change that changed my life forever.
It also disrupted my life.and ensured that it was never the same again.When we fall in love, most often it produces discontinuous change. Falling in love is involuntary, not a choice we make. But we still have a choice whether to follow those instincts. Of course, human beings are not always rational, least of all, in love. So love, even though it’s not, appears to be involuntary.Bereavement is another example of a discontinuous change that is involuntary and in which we have no choice. Such a change is perhaps the most difficult to come to terms with. When someone we love dies, life changes forever. It’s irreversible.
So change, incremental or discontinuous, is an indelible facet of life. The universe is in a continuous state of flux. Embracing change means bringing, and keeping, in our awareness its permanent nature. Once we embrace change instead of fighting it, we begin to live in the here and now—and that, say all great masters—is the only path to fulfilment.
Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!