This quote has been debunked as fake because it's a paraphrase of a few different truths Buddha spoke of. Paraphrase or not, the meaning (similar quotes here) is not lost on me through such small technicalities. Change is scary; not painful. Resisting a change is the painful and often very counterproductive, part.
For obvious reasons, change becomes inevitable (<--great blog on embracing inevitable changes).
"Nothing remains without change," another Buddha quote drives home the fact of life that IS change. With that, bring fear to some degree.
It scares me a lot is when I think about the things I have grown to depend on in recovery and how even those at some point will be subject to change. You can try to mentally prepare yourself for these things but it does little to ease the mind.
So many changes weigh on me;
- this secluded Northern Arizona lifestyle I have grown accustomed to is fleeting as my sobriety evolves and my goals begin to stand brighter than the shadow of fear they cast.
- the fear that with these new goals bring new life changes outside of experiences I have previously navigated and therefore I feel anxious about the unknown.
- the changes of meeting new people and elaborated myself up to social situations where I know no one, having lived the majority of my life in this small-knit community
- being sober. Sometimes I forget how much of a change this is for me. I enjoy not drinking way more than I enjoyed being drunk, but I was constantly inebriated for so long that really a lot of these things I'm doing now, are still new experiences.
As I have said time and time before, this is where meditation plays a key role in my life.
In the words of the Buddha when asked what he could possibly gain from meditation, he replied, "nothing. However, let me tell you all that I have lost. Anger, anxiety, insecurity, depression, and fear of old age and death."
I've touched on meditation in a previous blog ( <--click that link if you need to jog your memory) and while I won't beat that horse anymore, I will say this;
I heard someone once equate meditation to a storm on the ocean surface. Your mind is constantly being bombarded with waves and wind and debris. Meditation is like diving 20,000 leagues and sitting in the calm of your mind.
In reality, that doesn't stop the change afoot; it merely helps you feel better about the ways in which you can move forward with clarity. (more clarity moving through fear of change here)
Things will always change, and being humans it is somewhat of a natural reaction to be cautious. We are creatures of habit, not only because it is comfortable. For centuries humans have survived on instincts, trial and error, and a lot of miscalculations. Think about how many people had to eat oleander and die from it before people were like, "oh yeah, maybe we shouldn't eat those ones, or pick them really lets just leave those alone."
Keep in mind, the technology at our fingertips now is but a "." on the very last page of human history.
Being afraid of new things is normal for everyone!
Honestly, if you weren't a little bit frightened of change from time to time, my next question is, are you the same type of sociopath who tries to smell the color seven?
Fear is a very real emotion for people to have, especially because fear is directly tied to a survival instinct. You are unsure of what to anticipate and in turn, unsure how to properly prepare yourself for what you don't even know is coming.
Think about how amazing that is for a few reasons.
- One huge thing about recovery we all seem to collectively experience is the ability to feel again. We spent so long running from every emotion, fear is often one of the first ones that get thrown out of the window. (Genuine fear; not alcohol/drug paranoia.)
- Your body is not only feeling emotions, but it's still functioning on some level, to protect you. For some reason, your body is saying, "Hey, proceed with caution here," which is a great message to recieve from your subconscious when a lot of things seem unsure and overwhelming.
- Comfort does not breed growth. So even when your body is telling you to be wary of this new situation, fear -while uncomfortable- is not deadly (as I elaborited in FOMO? NO MO' <-- click to read full blog) This fear is a very big indicator that you have an opportunity to grow and learn.
It amazes me to no end that for the abuse that I inflicted on my body for years, it still has my best interest in be fearful. That I still have survival instincts to try and guide me to safe scenarios. Really and truly, it's a testament to how seriously built to survive human's really are.
Fear, if you can look at it on it's face, is a remarkable milestone in your recoery at any stage because it means that your body, although being judged and surrouned with the stigma of your addiction, still functions the same as everyone else's.
In other words, fear is a great reminder that you are still human.
However wonderful it is to have the emotions in theory, fear is one of the least enjoyable feelings we experience.
This fear is often what makes change appear painful; though in reality change itself rarely involves any actual pain. It's more painful to resist the change. Sometimes we try to bide our time ignoring the looming change that needs to be made rather than take action to prepare for it.
But how many times are you going to let this tornado rip and uproot your life before your make a storm cellar?
The tornado being the change you know is coming.
Are you just going to stand there, in tornado alley, knowing that storm season is coming and not acknowledge the storm on the horizon? Because that's what a lot of us do with change, both in and outside of addiction, or recovery.
It seems like a monumental task to build a storm cellar, and well, we never got the permits approved for the zoning. Then we would have to rent the equipment...and wow, I guess someone is going to have to operate the equipment because I don't know how. Boy, that's a lot of work. So instead, lets will just make due with what we have because even though they are just splinters of wood, we really loved the house those twigs once built. Let's bundle these together here and-----------
Doesn't that sound like a whole huge mess?
BECAUSE IT IS!!
Now, in that light do you see how fear, and resisting changes can be the painful part, instead of actually making the change? Halfway through that list of excuses you could have started digging a hole you still would have been better off than clinging to the broken pieces of what didn't work.
The painful part is usually because we fight for so long to hold onto something we know is changing, that by the time the change actually does come it is devastating for many other reasons and not just that we fought it.
So many things in life are painful, but change is not one of those things unless we fight it.