As spiritual practitioners, we are always working to grow and change. This inevitably means that through our own volition or through the forces that we may be facilitating on a subconscious level, we are purposely allowing our lives and our very selves, to be open to periods of transition.
Times of transition require a close examination of the core aspects of our being. What kind of life do I want to live? What do I envision contributing to the world? What are my strengths and how do I activate them?
Here are five items that may arise when answering these questions as part of the spiritual practice of working with change.
1. Working with Identity
Much of our waking conscious experience is geared toward the development of shaping our identity. Maintaining aspects of this identity is a task closely guarded by our ego. When an identity we have committed to is under examination, our ego works double time to protect this safe, established pattern of existence. This is a healthy use of the ego in some ways, but only to the degree that you are able to maintain a sense of flexibility and growth.
When you find yourself coming up against fierce attachment to past versions of your identity, even when your intuition is calling on you to evolve, touch in with your Higher Self. Ask your Higher Self why you are so attached to this definition of yourself. Try and truly understand the reasoning, and the fears attached. Sit with the feeling, allowing it to be fully heard and seen, and take note of any insights you receive from the Higher Self on how to resolve this conflict.
The Higher Self is here to support you in your efforts to let go of the false senses of identities that we may have accumulated through past experiences. These attachments may come in the form of goals that we adopted as a societal convention, or allegiances we may feel to ideologies we find safe and comfortable. It is our work with the Higher Self to free ourselves from the layers of these inherited ideas of our being and to instead discover, embrace, and foster the true self within.
2. Reactions of Others
When it comes to change, one thing you can count on is that other people in your life will always have an opinion about your new direction in life. You’ll likely come up against a slew of varied reactions from your friends and family, and these may come in the form of laments, congratulations, unsolicited advice, or tales of other people’s recent experiences with their own transitions.
You may even be surprised to encounter some passionate reactions as it is likely that there are people in your orbit who will be directly affected by this change. These individuals will likely want to influence you in a way that has a positive outcome for themselves, not because they don’t care about you but because in many ways that is human nature.
Before sharing changes with those around you, connect to your Higher Self and secure your own ground, your intention, and your sense of self-care. Rally your energy for these conversations so that you can bring an extra layer of mindful communication, transparency, and empathy to these talks. Changes are best managed with the support of those close to you, so taking the time for thoughtful discussion can be a huge help to you and those around you across the entire length of the transition. That said, people who are a step removed from your immediate life may be the most helpful to you, so find a confidant outside your inner circle for an extra layer of unbiased support.
Related: Dealing With Unsupportive Friendships During Times of Change
3. Disruption of Routine
While change marks a deviation in the overall direction of your life, it also has a significant impact on your day-to-day reality. Even if you are eager to shake things up, you may be surprised to find how much stability you had in the familiar. Many things that once took place without a second thought, now require extra attention and care. You may find that you are actively making many more choices both on the macro and the micro level.
At the base of many of those choices, you’ll likely find a repeating question, which in times of change is typically a constant conversation around priorities. In many ways, change is simply the rearranging of how you spend your time. The formally mundane choices of your everyday life now have more weight and consequence. For instance, if you are returning to school, you may have to actively choose study over leisure countless times throughout the day.
When it comes to making decisions about your routine, it can be helpful to remember your intention. If this transition was not intentional but circumstantial, then what goal have you set for this new chapter? In times of disorientation and confusion, get out of your language mind and into your heart, which is the seat of the Higher Self. Connect with your new direction, even if you can’t place it into words, then return to the question at hand with this new, more intentional approach to choice.
4. Working with Discomfort
If all of this is sounding a touch uncomfortable, you’re not wrong. Change is nothing if not taking a wide step outside of your comfort zone. Many associate change directly with stress and this can certainly be the case. No matter how eager you may be to move on to a new era, there remains in us a constant fear of the unknown. As humans, we are evolutionarily equipped to live in a constant state of considering the worst possible outcomes out of precaution for our safety and well-being.
The first step towards working with discomfort is to acknowledge it. When we bury our uncomfortable emotions under layers of distractions, they only gain more momentum. It could be said that we are only as present as our unexamined emotions will allow. Taking time to meditate and clear the mental and emotional space can be challenging in the moment but greatly beneficial in the time that follows.
During this period it’s important to take care of yourself physically. Eat healthy meals and get plenty of rest and exercise. Find joy in your new habits and celebrate small wins. Ask your Higher Self what it is you need in order to provide the care and comfort you need to navigate this time. You may be surprised what information you receive. If, for instance, you see yourself riding a bike, this may be a way that your Higher Self is telling you to loosen up. We’re of course always serious about our objectives, but your Higher Self might remind you to keep a light-hearted touch on all aspects of your life.
5. Asking for Help
One aspect of transition that can be difficult for many is having to let go the comfort and identity of being one hundred percent self-reliant. If for instance, if we are changing jobs, we may enjoy our status as the resident expert of a given aspect of our work, and will have to move into a learner’s mind to transition.
This more interdependent state of being can be difficult, especially for those with a strong self-reliant streak who take pride and comfort in being autonomous. On a basic level, asking for the help of others is a form of vulnerability that may make us feel insecure or inadequate, or like we are not pulling our weight.
This new state of mind can be an opportunity to embrace what meditation teachers call ‘beginner’s mind.’ Beginner’s mind is a state of perception where each experience is new. You view each situation as the first time you are experiencing it, so every aspect of your world becomes open, full of possibilities, and unhampered by the assumptions you were previously clinging to. It is said that advanced practitioners study “just as a beginner would.” So in many ways, the choice to step into this state of being is a huge step forward in your ultimate path.
Staying Close to Your Higher Self
The Higher Self is a source of wisdom, strength, and guidance that directs us to become the embodiment of our full potential. It is likely that if you have been working with your Higher Self on an inner level., this moment of external change has arrived to integrate your personal development with the best possible version of your material life.
Our Higher Self knows our greatest possible purpose, and can provide us with answers and direction that leads us to new levels of self-awareness and personal growth. If there was ever a time in life to call on the wisdom of the Higher Self, it would be during these important intersections and transition points of one’s life.
Stay close to your Higher Self, in these times and allow yourself to be directed in moments of uncertainty and discomfort. Chances are, this transition will move you closer to living in alignment with your true purpose.