Are you living your life resistant to change? Are you living your life resistant to life?
If, as the saying goes, “life is change” many of us live our lives resistant to life. This is certainly true of me. While I am fairly comfortable with the changes life brings, I am not as comfortable making changes on my own. I will cling to the status quo, to what I know and am used to rather than take a leap of faith and try something new. I am not one to initiate what Olympic skating star Apolo Ohno, in my interview with him on the Spirituality & Health Podcast, calls a hard pivot.
A hard pivot is an aggressive shift in direction. Even as I type the words “aggressive shift in direction” my stomach tightens: I don’t see myself as doing anything aggressive, and shifting direction without knowing in advance that the shift is going to work to my benefit and the benefit of those I love is something I am not eager to do.
Again, I am not opposed to change when it is imposed on me, it is just that initiating change doesn’t come easily to me. Even when the status quo is painful and troubling, unless I know in advance that the new direction I am shifting into is an improvement, I will stick with the devil I know.
This resistance to change plays out in dozens and dozens of ways in every aspect of my life. I eat a limited number of foods (limited number, not limited amount), all my clothes are black, grey, or white, I watch the same movies over and over, I keep buying the same breed of dog, and I’ve been reading and collecting the same two comic books since I was in high school: Doctor Strange and The Shadow.
The only area of my life where I am comfortable with change is spiritual, and yet I haven’t changed by understanding of spirituality or spiritual truth for over forty years. I study and even join numerous religions and contemplative paths—Freemasonry, Theosophy, and all the major religions—but my experience with all of them always leads me back to where I started: the conviction I have held since I was sixteen that alles iz Gott, everything is God.
It may be that I resist change because I am on THE RIGHT PATH: Goldendoodles are the best dogs, wearing black does make me look cool, Doctor Strange is the best superhero, and everything is God or, more accurately put, God is everything. Or maybe I’m just lazy. At least when it comes to dogs, clothes, and comic books; nothing can shake my conviction regarding God.
What would get me to change? Knowledge. If I knew for certain that “x” was better for me than “y” then, no matter how attached to y I may be, I’d switch to x. But this kind of knowledge isn’t available—not to me, not to anyone. Basically, life is a crapshoot. You throw the dice without any certainty of what the next roll will bring. You might minimize the horror of uncertainty by clinging to old habits of heart and mind, but this doesn’t improve your odds, it only masks the fact that, in the end, the house always wins, and you always die. Or you might embrace the uncertainty of life and go for the new rather than the old.
Either way, the house always wins.
Listen to Rabbi Rami's conversation with Apolo Ohno on the Spirituality & Health Podcast.