Once in Persia reigned a king,
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance
Fit for any change or chance;
Solemn words, and these are they:
“Even this shall pass away.”
(Theodore Tilton, 1835-1907)
As we pass through life and gain more and more experience, we cannot fail to be amazed at the wondrous laws of nature and the infinite wisdom of the Cosmic.
One such law is the law of change.
It was the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535-c.475 BCE) who first focused attention on this fundamental law of the universe. He taught that nothing ever is, but everything is becoming.
“You cannot step twice into the same river, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.”
He claimed that man is no exception for he is “kindled and put out like a light in the nighttime.” Anticipating relativity he stated, “Fire lives the death of earth, and air lives the death of fire; water lives the death of air, earth that of water.”
Philosophers and mystics have subsequently realised for themselves that nothing is permanent or changeless except the law of change itself.
Some may question how or why God should dangle benevolence and goodness before us only to snatch it away from us later.
Would it not be more godlike to bestow only what we consider to be the good and the best permanently and abolish the negative? It would seem so!
But reflect a moment: What is good? It is the opposite of what we consider to be bad. Can we describe or experience good without knowledge of its opposite condition?
Try to realise any positive concept without consideration of its opposite! We can’t because of the law of duality, the manifestation of which is the operation of the law of change. It is the constant and permanent swing of the pendulum between positive and negative or the eternal opposites.
Thus the Cosmic has indeed bestowed upon us the benevolence and goodness we seek in the only way it could be realised by us.
It is our responsibility to realise gradually that this is indeed an expression of love for the created. It may appear to be a paradox, but that is due only to our ignorance of the law of change. The law is timeless but its manifestation is transiency.
Once we have understood the law of change we can and should develop hope, aspiration, tolerance and patience. Remember, nothing is, but everything is becoming.
The severe tests and disappointments of today are actually the preparatory stages for our blissful and rewarding moments of tomorrow, if we realise and accept them as such.
The vast majority of us, lacking vision and perspective, resent and reject our negative cycles as being some undeserved punishment inflicted upon us by others or even by our omnipotent Creator. And so we prolong or intensify our unpleasant experiences unnecessarily.
We, too, must change according to the law.
Reflect again; has any single experience of “bad luck,” despondency or suffering ever persisted interminably without change? Broadly speaking, no!
Of course, there are those who claim to be condemned to a life of unending negative conditions, but sympathetic friends soon discover that these people seem to be their own worst enemy.
In a sense they enjoy being miserable and are unaware, or thankless, when their cycle changes for the better as it must inevitably. Most people accept that we all have “our good days and bad days.”
Admittedly, the negative or “down” side of life is not always easy.
Probably it is intended to be thus, for the very unpleasantness of it gives birth to hope and aspiration, visualisation and planning to change conditions toward the positive cycle.
We are never subjected to more of the negative conditions than we can withstand. Whenever physical suffering becomes more than the body and mind can tolerate, nature has provided us with blessed unconsciousness.
When mental torment becomes unbearable, nature induces a psychological block to conceal the source of aggravation from our objective and reasoning mind.
Yes, God is indeed loving and benevolent.
As quite normal and imperfect human beings, we have been dwelling almost exclusively on one aspect of the law of change; the hoped for and much needed change from the negative to the positive, as if it were a one-way street.
But the law of change also functions from the positive to the negative.
In the cycles of nature, the law must proceed from the positive to the negative if it is to be available in serving us to move from the negative to the positive. Take comfort in the fact that there can be no positive unless there is a negative; there is no good, except as compared with evil.
How can we recognise happiness unless we have experienced sadness? We reach or attain success from what? The pendulum must swing. The swinging is timeless; the extremes of the swing are transient.
In striving toward self-mastery we would do well to ponder upon certain basic and fundamental principles.
Consider the concept of time. Certainly it is a great convenience in regulating our lives so long as we do not permit time to ultimately control us.
Time is relative to the situation in which we measure it. If we are waiting, it drags; if we are very busy, it races. Actually it does neither except as we measure it against our activity.
In a similar manner we measure our happy and pleasurable moments in life as being very brief and our less happy, learning, and adjusting periods in life as being very long and tedious.
They are neither except as we measure them and experience them. Our consolation is the inevitable law of change.
Whatever conditions we experience, good or bad, life will change.
With sufficient evolvement and accumulated wisdom we will realise that the duality of experience is all-beneficent in the long run.
There are times in the lives of all of us when, in our human frailty, we need a “crutch” to help us face life bravely. Whether enjoying the heights of happiness or wallowing in the depths of despair, we might benefit from the poetic lines at the head of this article.
If we remember that the law of change functions in both directions we shall be able to maintain equilibrium and tranquillity in our lives.
Realise that the positive and negative are simply two aspects of the same thing. Monotony would be a curse.
The law of change blesses us with its timeless transiency.
Adaptation of “The Law of Change” by Christopher R Warnken from the Rosicrucian Beacon, March 2006