Finding Security in Constant Change
Life circumstances are constantly changing and yet, when things are going well, you might be tempted to think that you have won the impermanence game. You might imagine that you have finally managed to arrange everything in just the right way so that no major stressors come your way. Unfortunately, life gives you a wake up call eventually. You find yourself facing a difficult challenge or simply your own reactivity over losing your phone or some such detail of daily life.
Knowing where you can turn your attention in times of difficulty is key in maintaining a sense of inner security regardless of changing circumstances. Inner security lives on a relative spectrum. The main thing is finding what is authentic and accessible for you. Moving yourself from content to values, is a helpful starting point. For example, let's imagine you find yourself obsessing about what school is right for your daughter. You might interrupt this reactive thinking, by moving your attention to your love and care for your daughter. Creating the habit of moving your attention to your values or to what really matters in any given situation gives you a sense of stability in the face of constant change.
Such shifting of attention to what matters most is not effective as a purely mental exercise. It's only helpful when done from the intention of becoming grounded and accessing the felt sense of a given value. This means you experience a change in your body. Your face relaxes, your chest opens, and the muscles in your shoulders soften. You notice a sense of warmth and expansion.
This practice also requires building the strength to interrupt the habit of grasping the mundane content of life whether it be opinions, beliefs, having something go exactly as you planned, or insistence on being right. Any bit of holding or tension in your body is likely a sign of grasping. You don't have to know what you're grasping in order to practice releasing and returning your attention to what matters most.
As your practice evolves, what you turn your attention to might also evolve. What you turn to for a sense of security may take on more depth, meaning, and subtlety. With continued practice, this place of inner security transforms from being a practice to becoming your ground of being.
Focus silently on three full breaths, and then ask yourself what matters most to you.