• 113th International Peace Meditation “Preparation for Change”

    “Preparation for Change”

    May 7, 2006-Change comes. Whether we like it or want it, it comes. Whether we fear it, or wait for it, change comes. For some it brings dread. For others, relief. It may create joy or sorrow. It may be a beginning, middle, or end. But it comes. And as it comes, we change, or are changed.

    Evolution has brought many changes. Some would argue that we were created, and that there has been no significant change to the human race. Some would say that races are separate, and should remain so. Others contend that we evolved from a single cell, and we have changed according to the requirements of nature. Whether we came suddenly, or evolved, or something in between, we have as a human race been through many evolutionary steps.

    Language changes. Incorporation of words some would call slang, or the vernacular, might upset the purists. Others may see it as cultural richness. Languages have their own beauty, whether or not understood. Listen to speakers of languages other that your own, and hear the music of rhythm and inflection as the voice changes in response to emotion. It has it’s own beauty, and is worthy of appreciation.

    For some of us, change has brought deep sorrow. Time has brought an end to relationships, life, shared experiences, work that we loved, or talents and skills. We grow older and face limitations we knew would come, but which we each would like to postpone. Change is inevitable. Whether desired, or feared, time moves us all toward change. We celebrate our joys, and preserve our memories in pictures and song. But, ‘time, like a river,’ as has been said so often, keeps on moving.

    What if there were no change? What if time brought changes to the human race? What if we really aren’t alone? What will our future steps in space exploration teach us? What will we discover in the depths of the ocean about which we now know very little? What species will develop? Which will be come extinct? Will the human body change as we continue to improve technology in ways that cause us less and less physical exertion? What will the next major steps bring?

    Science must continue to expand its definition of the universe and of reality. Perceptions must continue to change as new information requires integration into the already known. Theories of life and where we fit in the Universe expand with the discovery of new stars, planets, distance, and space travel, as well as cloning, stem cells, breakthroughs in our understanding of disease, and new uses of biotechnology. From nano-technology research and military use of robots to finding potential for life beyond earth, we live in a time where each new discovery changes the way we view the world and those in it.

    Our ability to work with change, harness it for the betterment of humanity, control or define it for ethical reasons, or simply try to adjust to it in our daily lives will be the basis for our “success” in the coming years. From industrial to service to information revolutions, we have begun to realize that change is coming faster and faster.

    In our daily lives this may be mimicked in our ever-increasing expectations. Speed is the common denominator. Often quality is sacrificed for speed. Human relationships are sacrificed as we try to do more and more within prescribed times. We juggle multiple businesses, lifestyles, roles and responsibilities. While technology has made our lives easier in some respects, it now keeps us “on” all of the time. Consider the cell phone. Media. Pace of career changes. Number of hours spent away from the family. We are always “on call” from someone: families, jobs, volunteer work, friends. Time alone without requirements is precious. Evolution has brought us the ability to do multiple things simultaneously. However, the price may far exceed the value added.

    Those who meditate find release from the rush of change and its added expectations upon us. However, many no longer take time for meditation, prayer, and reflection. That can result in a loss of true personal identity. How can we know who we truly are and for what we are designed if we are always reacting to the expectations of others? Is it healthy to be “on call” all of the time? These are questions we each need to ask of ourselves.

    Finding peace in the midst of multiple and increasing expectations that never seem to stop is very difficult. Finding peace in a world where one’s sense of reality is constantly challenged by the discoveries and changes of the day is challenging. When one’s daily life of work and family intrude upon every thought, it is difficult to get the distance and quiet to adjust to other major evolutionary changes as well. The way something was done yesterday is soon forgotten. One must continuously learn in order to stay current with workplace demands on top of parenting dilemmas. It is exhausting. It is scary. And, most of all, our own sense of self and our place in the universe can become elusive.

    Taking time to stop, listen within, meditate, reflect, and write is not only purposeful and career and life enhancing, it is essential to our survival. We cannot continue to respond to every threat with violence; to every defeat as if it were final; to every request as though the person had no right to ask. We need to stop. To listen to our own thoughts. To seek guidance from whatever source we trust. To share the moments that are beautiful, and process the pain that could destroy us and our relationships. We need to examine how we treat ourselves as well as how we treat others. We must work to remain resilient. We must not blame ourselves for those things not in our control. And we must work to love our families so that they can continue to grow and develop with confidence and as caring people.

    Change is inevitable. It causes stress when we do not allow ourselves time to properly process it. It is painful when we hold onto the past and don’t allow new information to enter our perception of life. Life is. It is an opportunity to express ourselves, to experience unconditional love, to share beauty in sight and sound, and to give ourselves to something bigger than ourselves. It is an opportunity to feel and care-those qualities that make us human. Change requires us to be vigilant about whom we trust. It requires us to see what is really happening rather than to see what we only expect to see. It makes us need to see and hear true motives, as our brief encounters with people don’t give us time to research their history. From child sexual predators to those who would take financial advantage, we need to be constantly aware, trusting our gut to tell us whom to trust.

    Where once many families lived in isolation in rural areas, with only a few external relationships, we now find dates on the internet and move about country to country with the ease that our grandparents moved from town to town. We are on the move constantly. Perhaps it’s time we stopped, reflected, sought spiritual strength, listened more to our loved ones, and asked ourselves if the life we are living is the life we want. Change is inevitable. It will continue. People come in and go out of our lives. We need to decide what we will do with our lives, how we will use our time, what we want our families to have from us, and what contribution we want to leave to the world. That won’t happen in the 70 mile an hour lane as we dash from one place to another. It will happen only when we stop, take stock of our relationships and our lives, and make conscious decisions about how we will deal with change. The Institute’s Empowerment Center is available for you if you would like the opportunity to experience a guided retreat to help you enrich your spiritual and personal life.

    This meditation is dedicated to the scientific community that strives to learn, research, document, and invent; to create new definitions of the universe in which we live; and to understand the reality in which we move.

    Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D.
    Executive Director

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