Staying Rooted During Times of Change
We stake our sense of Self upon a relied upon, consistent external environment much more than we might like to admit. Consistency is the unconscious defense mechanism put into place to combat painful existential anxiety. When environmental circumstances change it’s kind of like cracks start forming in the dam, where all of that anxiety water threatens to burst through and flood the village below.
The key then is to recur to our mindfulness practice to help us stay rooted during times of change. We come to see ourselves as stable and unmoving even as the world moves around us. The mindfulness ideal is to be like strong trees swaying this way and that in the wind, where we don’t need to be afraid of those winds of change because our roots run deep, they ground us in who and what we know we are. We can find that sense of stability and rootedness simply by coming back to our breathing, where we become aware of ourselves in the here and now through our in-breaths and out-breaths.
It’s easy to start to feel lost in the face of changing circumstances, but this is only because we have been relying too much on routine, too much on accustomed patterns of behavior, too much on the unchanging external environment, and not enough on our own inherent ability to stay centered and grounded in ourselves regardless of what’s going on around us. Staying rooted during times of change is a lot easier if we make mindful living a daily practice, if we practice it during times of stability through using our breathing to exist more often in the here and now.