‘The only thing that is constant is change.’ ~ Heraclitus
Change of all perceivable things is inevitable. As Heraclitus said, up becomes down, in becomes out, day becomes night. But to say that the only thing that is constant is change is not quite accurate.
Stop for a minute and notice your experience. Notice that your thoughts are always changing, your sensations and feelings are always changing, the sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells of the world are always changing. Yes, there is continuous change, but when you look deeply at your experience you discover that change is not the constant.
Ask yourself, what knows change? What is it that is aware of the change in all objective experience? Change is constantly happening, but by its very definition change itself is not constant. Isn’t something that is constant unchanging?
There is an unchanging element to all experience. What is it?
Who or what is it that notices anything? Identify that within you that observes the coming and going of all things but doesn’t come and go with them, the constant, unmoving, and unchanging aware presence that is the source of our being, the essence of our being, the background of all experience, the I that knows that I am.
This is it.
Change happens in this aware presence, or awareness, whose very nature is changeless. When is it ever not present? Does any experience affect it? It’s always the same regardless of what happens in the body, mind, and world – it is nameless, placeless, unmoving, all embracing, limitless, and timeless. And how do you find this awareness? By not looking. By not not looking. By simply being, no effort involved. You are because Awareness is.
Once you have identified this unchanging awareness in yourself, in all beings, as there can only be one that is limitless and timeless, and begin to live your life in harmony with this discovery, your essential self is less and less obscured by the ever-changing experiences of the body, mind, and world.
And finally, just as the sun shines brilliantly in the sky whether there are clouds or not, so to will your essential being shine brilliantly regardless of what happens.
And all will be brightened by your presence.
This brings to mind the final verse from the Ten Bulls of Zen:
Barefooted and naked of breast,
I mingle with the people of the world.
My clothes are ragged and dust-laden,
and I am ever blissful.
I use no magic to extend my life;
Now, before me, the dead trees