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If Sameness Is A Demand We Make

--by Rev. Carol Carnes (Mar 08, 2010)


When I lived in Hawaii, if the temperature dropped to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, we felt we had been hit with serious winter.  In California, 41 degrees was enough to cause complaints. Here in Canada those temperatures are considered balmy when they occur in January and we celebrate the warm weather!

It is all relative to what we consider normal. Deviations from the norm are either something we resist or welcome.  What determines our reaction is how much our “norm” includes the possibility of change, surprise, unexpected occurrences.  In Calgary we know that the Chinook winds will surely come and raise the temperatures dramatically a few times every winter. We count on that change to be part of our “norm.”

If sameness is a demand we make of our partner, our job, our children, our friends, our world, then we are going to be seriously challenged when the inevitable happens.   People grow; they evolve; change their minds, rethink their politics, get new jobs, move to different cities. They find new friends, gain or lose weight, take up yoga while we sit in front of the TV.  If we feel a loss or a threat from their growth, it is time to expand our sense of what “normal” is.

As the song says “Everything must Change. Nothing stays the same.”  The temporariness of form or experience is something we can rely upon, absolutely. It is in the variations of weather, the ups and downs of relationships, the shift from toddler to teen, the necessity of learning new skills, that keeps us in harmony with the nature of things.  A kind of non resisting ability to let things flow is a high awareness and a healthy way to live. Knowing that change will surely come, we are more likely to treasure the moment and celebrate it now.

--Rev. Carol Carnes


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6 Previous Reflections:

 
On May 12, 2010 moreblessing m wrote:

As  humans we need to adapt to the changes that do happen around us.



On Mar 12, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

This piece reminded me of a monk's thunderous essay, where he declared that sameness can only happen when there is no life. As long as there is life, there must be good and evil. Every wave creates a trough. And yet, we are worried when some suffer while others seem to be happy. The question then is, do we expand our notion of normalcy to accept the suffering of others? That sounds like a heartless thought. And yet, the opposite idea of trying to get to sameness is at the heart of all fanaticism. In the same essay, the monk says that we are all fanatics about something or the other, and that fanaticism has both good and evil effects (no surprise on the evil aspect). How do we resolve this one? Nothing can have positive effects without also having negative effects. This is a great truth that should help reduce our fanaticism about our favorite ideas. The other day, my professor shared an insight when someone brough up how they valued environmental sustainability. It turns out that the  See full.

This piece reminded me of a monk's thunderous essay, where he declared that sameness can only happen when there is no life. As long as there is life, there must be good and evil. Every wave creates a trough. And yet, we are worried when some suffer while others seem to be happy. The question then is, do we expand our notion of normalcy to accept the suffering of others? That sounds like a heartless thought.

And yet, the opposite idea of trying to get to sameness is at the heart of all fanaticism. In the same essay, the monk says that we are all fanatics about something or the other, and that fanaticism has both good and evil effects (no surprise on the evil aspect).

How do we resolve this one? Nothing can have positive effects without also having negative effects. This is a great truth that should help reduce our fanaticism about our favorite ideas. The other day, my professor shared an insight when someone brough up how they valued environmental sustainability. It turns out that there was a period when foam containers were considered evil for their impact on the environment, and it was politically incorrect to use them. We made the switch to paper containers. When a deep analysis was done, researchers found more harm to the environment from the switch, but our minds were made up about this. Such patterns repeat, and our fanaticism does not reduce. If only the world were to do the obvious, we'd be a much happier planet.

As I find myself guilty of such fanaticism, it is amazing how profound this little iJourney passage is, for it provides a compelling answer. The notion of normalcy is about developing the awarenss to accept everything as it is right now, without introducing any distortions. What that seems to do is to calm my mind. My sister had this wonderful status message today (talk about the benefits of our online lives) which went as follows:

“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” - Anais Nin  

Once this acceptance without distortion has happened (to the extent possible), I am in a much better position to go in and see where I can be the change, in a skillful, efficient manner. The idea of sameness takes an altogether different dimension - I am seeking to recognize a deeper unity, not impose a shallow uniformity. With that recognition comes a deep sense of responsibility to be the change out of compassion, not anger at the world. The best service acts I've been able to do are the ones where I didn't think and plan the seed, but became aware of a deep connection, and went beyond the doer, the deed and the receiver. These are the rare moments. Most of the time, it is a struggle to get away from the idea of agentship, a struggle to get away from distorting, a great struggle to stop struggling and do the easiest thing possible - just be.

Missed this Wednesday - hopefully someone will write about insights.

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On Mar 11, 2010 jed wrote:

Change is the only constant in this world



On Mar 10, 2010 Devan wrote:

Yes life is change but people are afraid to adapt to a changing world much less a change of attitude.Prhaps people do not know how to adapt to a change in mentality eg.Does it relly matter if we view the glass as half full or half empty.On a sientific level the quantity does not change so it does not matter,but as a versatile and intellegent animal who incorperate emotions it doesbecause if we view it as half empty we create a sence of depletion and a need to fill that void however if we view it as half full we also create a sence of fullness thereby eleminating stress.If people are aware of this power they have we will be creating a peaceful environment.



On Mar 9, 2010 Ali wrote:

Nice points to be noted:

"Everything must Change. Nothing stays the same.”

People grow; they evolve; change their minds, rethink their politics, get new jobs, move to different cities. They find new friends, gain or lose weight, take up yoga while we sit in front of the TV.

We count on that change to be part of our “norm.”  It is time to expand our sense of what “normal” is.

CONCLUSION:  A kind of non resisting ability to let things flow is a high awareness and a healthy way to live.



On Mar 8, 2010 Jay wrote:

Aw yes, 'Change'! The one characteristic of the Universe that we have the most trouble adopting. And yet at some level we grow to reaize that the only real security lies in change. And the more we evolve, the more we learn to embrace the quality of change--eventually awaiting its ever new experience with awed anticipation. And in aligning our intention with an increasing 'need-to-know' and a sense of 'allowance', we find oourselves movimg into a state of being at one with the change--and then finally, becoming  the change itself as a homeward bound co-creator......Jim