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The Tinkered Mind
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July 11th, 2018
This episode references Episode 76: Unlikely Mentors. If you'd like to fully understand the reference, please check out that episode.
Everything changes. Is this a good thing to remember while having a really good time? That everything changes, and that the good time will not last? Probably not. It can instantly become a self-fulfilling prophecy and spoil a good time.
When is a better time to remember that nothing stays the same and that everything changes? How about during a bad time? When things are looking bleak, when things feel desolate and hopeless. Does that linguistic pair unzip it’s chameleon suit and step out as a single bright ray of hopeful sunshine?
Interesting how two words can seem like the most unwanted party guest in one instance and like a savior in another.
If we had to categorize the concept that “Everything Changes” into one of the categories of Good & Bad, where would we place it?
The fascinating part of this exercise and asking ourselves this question is that we realize the answer is dependent on our own current perspective. And yet it’s probably fair to say that “everything Changes” is one of the few iron clad laws of living. As a fact of life, it does not change.
Given different circumstances: having a good time and being down in the dumps, it seems at first glance that remembering this rule of life is more useful in one circumstance rather than the other. When things are not going well, remembering that it’ll change, as all things do, can be a comforting start and may even spur actions to help change the situation.
But is it so bad to remember that things change while having a good time? At first glance it seems pessimistic, however this shifty little fact might be a coin with two shiny sides.
To illustrate, it’s fun to think of flowers.
Compare: would you rather receive a bouquet of freshly cut flowers? Or a bunch of plastic ones that will last forever?
Given the nature of all the language that surrounds romance, it makes a lot more sense to give plastic ones. Hallmark cards use the word ‘forever’ ad nauseum. Plastic flowers make a lot more sense given this indication in the way we like to speak about those times, people, experiences we treasure.
The contradiction shows that things are a little more nuanced.
We prefer fresh cut flowers because they only last a short while. The word ‘fresh’ means that it will soon decay. And it’s this juxtaposition that helps us appreciate what is happening here and now. Like a firework lighting up the night sky for just a few moments.
The utility of these things is not to remind us that things will change, and potentially end.
Fresh cut roses and fireworks work well with us because they jolt us, and bring us back to the present.
They are mere reminders of what is going on all the time: that we are alive.
One of the gifts of this little fact, is that we can develop the ability to choose the perspective we wish to have. By selecting what influences our thoughts, whether it be a facebook feed or a meditation app. By training thoughts, whether that be through prayer or affirmations or by putting in no effort at all. or by using the body to influence the mind with exercise, dance, or some martial art, or by doing nothing at all and staying on couch. Everything has an influence on the perspective, even if it seems like it’s nothing at all.
When to remember? That everything changes?
It’s particularly good at those moments when we are not being proactive, when we are catering to the lazier parts of ourselves. Perhaps this is why we like fresh cut roses and fireworks. Indeed it may be at the heart of all entertainment.
Entertainment has a shallow pall about it, but it’s draw has a useful and undeniable fact. Some of us need to be shaken up to remember that we are living and alive. The trap is that we can become somewhat addicted to the shaking up, and forget to actually do anything as a result of it.
so when is it a good time to remember that everything changes?
during bad times to help change course,
and certainly during
good times, if not to prepare mentally and stoically for the future, then to remember that the present moment is a gift, a dynamic gift. One that can and will change instantly as it dances with changes in our perspective.