Today’s meditation opens with a quote from Lady Astor: “The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything… or nothing.” Because I have long sought constant improvement over myself, I have always known people who blindly refuse change to be a problem, but I never considered before that wanting to change too much is similarly problematic in its own right. Of course, it is though. There are some things which are simply beyond our control and our ability to change.
On the topic of dualism, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
Those who want to change everything often become ruthless in their laser focus upon what they know is right.
Those who want to change nothing have become so enured to themselves and other beings that they only pass through life not looking to the right or to the left. Neither group does much for itself or anyone else. Actually, both groups operate out of the same self-centered focus.
What is the third option? The third option is to be present to ourselves and others, accepting those things which we cannot change, changing the things we can, and knowing the difference.
Life presents us with lessons that manifest in the form of problems, and we must repeat those lessons over and over again until we learn from them and thus are able to move on. People who wish to change nothing refuse to acknowledge that their problems are, to a certain extent, within their own control. Often we can eliminate these problems by learning from them and growing as people. To refuse to change is to refuse to grow.
People who wish to change everything, on the other hand, seek to control that which is ultimately beyond their control. There is a certain power in admitting that some things are out of our hands, because it releases us from the miserable prison of attempting to control that which we cannot. I now recognize that I often err on the side of trying to change everything, and I am slowly beginning to let go of the stranglehold I have on power over everything and everyone. I take responsibility for so many things that are simply just not mine to take, such as other people’s emotions and how they feel or think. At the end of the day, we are not responsible for anyone but ourselves.