The timeless teachings of the past tell us that there is a right time for everything.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
How helpful it would be if we could learn to recognise these “right times,” to set the timelines of our lives to coincide with this universal guide, and to let the tides of being fluctuate with a cosmic ebb and flow.
Sometimes it is simple to do so.
Society and one’s own physical development can signal the appropriate moments for such important steps as going to school, starting a career, marrying, and raising a family.
Many decisions, however, are not quite so obvious.
Life is a succession of changes and new beginnings.
Whether we like it or not, whether we want to or not, at various moments in our lives we are compelled to enter into new stages of development, to consider new areas of thinking, and perhaps to abandon some old ways.
Knowing when to make these changes can often mean the difference between success and failure, between wasting our hours in no longer productive—even destructive—pursuits, or utilising this time for growth and achievement, both inner and outer.
But how does one know when this moment occurs? How does one know when it is truly time for a change?
“Act, act in the living present! Heart within, and God overhead!” wrote the poet, Longfellow.
So often the failure to act at the appropriate moment can mean loss of opportunity for growth and advancement, can even be the onset of a deep-freeze of the soul, a sinking into lethargic and stultifying habits—those spiritually deadening routines which can destroy us the most when we are least aware of them.
Failure to recognise when the time has come to re-evaluate one’s employment and perhaps consider a change; failure to recognise danger signs in a relationship that desperately needs renewal if a marriage is to be saved; failure to loosen parental bonds on a young person who is searching for her own identity sufficiently to avoid a complete rupture of those ties; failure to recognise that the decay of old interests has led to a limbo of the consciousness which can be reawakened only by development and expansion of new interests and thought—the list might go on and on of life-destroying traps which await the unaware and the unalert.
How does one learn to recognise the “right time,” the propitious moment when there is the most to gain—emotionally, materially, or spiritually—from change?
The answer, paradoxically, is both exceedingly simple and extremely difficult.
It is simple because the techniques are easy and within the reach of everyone, yet arduous because of the difficulties inherent in awakening those who are in deep, deep sleep.
Except for an enlightened few, we are all asleep to a greater or lesser degree when it comes to an awareness of our own potential and the psychological and emotional pressures which block the full achievement of that potential.
It would be even more valuable could we see ourselves as no one sees us, but as we are capable of becoming.
Fortunately, it is seldom necessary to solve the complex mystery of identity all at once.
We develops slowly. One new aspect of identity, one added shade of being, is all we can be expected to cope with at one time. And the time to recognise this new facet of ourselves, to bring it up for reflection and examination, indicates itself to us in many ways.
We get numerous signals from within when life has become static and unproductive.
With awareness and practice, we can learn to recognise these signals.
Sometimes, the signs are mental—a vague restlessness, a sense of boredom, an increase in tension and irritability, a diminishing or even vanishing of the joys which were once experienced in daily living, a feeling of listlessness or lethargy.
These symptoms may indicate problems other than the need for a change but, whatever their source, only benefits can accrue from an awareness of their existence.
When inner needs go unanswered too long, they often manifest themselves in physical symptoms. These may go so far as to indicate actual illness but are more often expressed in fatigue, persistent or recurrent headaches, and insomnia.
Physical symptoms, no matter how mild, should never be neglected.
They are the body’s intuitive way of trying to tell us something important about ourselves. If we train ourselves to heed these signals, they can help point the way to improved physical and mental health.
We may even come to realise that sometimes these signs indicate that it is time for a change—a change upward and outward into increased understanding and self-development.
One who is alert to these mental and physical signals is on his or her way to the development of the awareness that leads to spiritual, emotional, and intellectual growth.
An aware person can take stock of his or her situation and recognise those areas of his or her life that are in need of revitalisation and renewal.
Awareness must always precede action.
Just as changes in barometric pressure are followed by appropriate changes in weather, so our inner barometers can point out to us the need for change in our own lives.
The act of living involves unceasing action and renewal.
The person who works at the art of living maintains a constant awareness of his or her real self and the shifts in its needs as it grows and develops toward ever-greater harmony and strength.
Recognition of the right time for change can avoid wasted, unfulfilled hours and bring one into new areas of experience and creativity—a step closer to that perfection of the self for which we all yearn.
Adaptation of “A Right Time For By Carol H Behrman From the Rosicrucian Digest, January 1973