For women over 40 we are well aware of this notion: Everything is constantly Changing.
We see it in the mirror. We see it on the scale. We see it in our children as they rapidly grow from giggling toddlers to surly teenagers and then into mature young adults.
We see it in our parents. When did our moms and dads become elderly? How did that happen?
I was watching the movie Interstellar last night and was struck not only by the fascinating and mind-bending concepts of black holes and space travel but more of our experience of linear time in this dimension. While it might be tempting to hope we are indeed on a brink of transcending 3rd and 4th dimensional experience here on Earth, from what I see most of us are still locked into see ourselves, our bodies, our kids, our parents, our planet in a linear patter of constant change.
Eckhart Tolle refers to this worldly experience as the “the world of form.” As long as we are engaged with this world of form we will indeed notice everything is constantly changing.
Herein lies the rub. If we cling to this world of form (our physical beauty, our body weight, our home decor, our dinner parties and our wardrobes) as our identity we are setting ourselves up for deep and ongoing disappointment. If, instead, we are able to ride this wave of ever-changing form with humor, acceptance and gratitude for the ride we are able to touch into the spiritual aspect of this experience. Tolle refers to this as “the formless.”
All the science tells us that a practice of mindfulness and seated meditation has positive effects on brain function and the body… but what about spirituality? What does mindfulness and meditation have to do with our personal spiritual experience?
Well, as Tolle points out, if we watch the clouds we can learn a lot. One moment a big fluffy cloud takes the shape of a dragon and as we watch that perceived form begins to morph into something else. And yet the essence of the cloud is the same. It is the same vapor. The vapor itself is formless and yet it takes on various forms, always changing.
We are that way. We have essence that animates the form we are in. This body is an ever-changing form through which the essence of who we are expresses itself, experiences life. Mindfulness is the practice of being present. Noticing exactly what we are experiencing in the present moment without judging or analyzing. Seated meditation is a dedicated space and time in which we can formally practice mindfulness.
As women who have reached the phase of mid-life, we face an opportunity to fully know and fully embrace the essence of who we are. The formless. This might come by way of a particular religion or a spiritual practice that doesn’t center around a particular set of prescribed beliefs. To free ourselves from the disappointment of the aging process, empty nest syndrome, caring for elderly parents, career changes we must know and believe in this formless essence within and be willing to ride the wave of constant change.
I need to watch this film as it’s precisely where I am right now in my life. Smack in the middle of my 46 year.
Carla I loved the movie. It really gave perspective on our perception and experience of time and relationships.
This is so true: “To free ourselves from the disappointment of the aging process, empty nest syndrome, caring for elderly parents, career changes we must know and believe in this formless essence within and be willing to ride the wave of constant change.” Thanks for reminding us that we can go beyond these worldly concerns by tapping into our essence.
These worldly concerns can be so daunting…. yet we can go beyond and will!
Indeed we CAN transcend these worldly trials and challenges!
I love watching the clouds…constant yet peaceful change. And watching from far away reminds me of how tiny our problems are in the context of such a large universe. No clouds in the sky today in Thailand (!) but next time there are, I will lie down in a field and remember that constant change is something I can just ride, rather than resist…
Maybe watching the waves at the beach can bring a similar sensation!
Ah yes, watching the ocean’s waves is another wonderful example of constant flow…
I love this, especially the idea of thinking of ourselves as shifting clouds and learning from them. It occurs to me that we are like clouds dissipating into the atmosphere in death. Gone, but not really gone – just transformed.
Yes, indeed… this concept really helps me as I move through daily life and experience the natural process of aging and seeing my parents enter the latter years of life…
Perhaps our essence is like the vapor that we perceive as clouds. Shifting, changing, transforming…
Lynn, your article is a much needed reminder that it is so helpful as life continues on to be open to change and to be resilient. Nothing ever stays the same and I appreciate your point of not clinging to our world of form yet being open to change. I love your final line, “we must know and believe in this formless essence within and be willing to ride the wave of constant change.” Thank you!