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The Wheels of Change Never Stop: Soothing Words for Troubled Times


If you think about it, all life moves in cycles. The moon waxes and wanes. The tides roll in and flow out. Leaves are bright green in the spring, lush in the summer, aflame with orange in autumn before they float down making a mess all over your yard.


Hours in a day, days in a week, months in a year are human constructs derived from these cycles in nature. Our lives shift between joys and sorrows. The pleasures of time spent with loved ones. Mourning their absence when they are not with us. 


Two images of the same young man. One of him wiping away a tear and the other of him raising his arms to the sun in celebration.
I Shed a Tear by Carolyn Pitts

Human civilization moves in cycles, too. The rise and fall of the Roman expire. The Dark Ages and the Renaissance. 


Ecclesiastes 3 tells us:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time of love, and a time of hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.


The Buddha taught that clinging to what is -- trying to keep things the way that they are -- leads to suffering. Unnecessary suffering...because the wheels of change are constantly turning and resistance is silly. (OK maybe he didn’t use that exact word but you get his point.)


Taoism counsels flexibility. Making peace with the cycles. In the yin-yang symbol we see darkness and light each flowing into and following the other. Everything is relative. Light only exists in its contrast to darkness. Without darkness, there would be no light.


The Yin Yang symbol
Yin Yang

Notice that each section contains a dot of the other. To me this is a reminder that things are never fully one or the other. Even when the cycle is mostly dark, there is a seed of light that will spring forth a cycle of mostly light. And that cycle of light contains a seed of dark that will spring forth again in its time.


After all, the Dark Ages weren’t all dark. The printing press, spinning wheel, compass, and  - thank you very much - eyeglasses were invented during that time.


It is essential to remember that while each cycle proceeds at a different pace — it never stops moving. If you are feeling bereft at the state of the affairs in the world right now know that we have been here before and we will not stay here 


As Lee Harris sings in the song There is Light Here, “Even in the darkness stars shine starlight.” So let me remind you  — you can choose where to direct the energy of your focus. If you feel like the world is going to hell in a hand basket, I urge you to look up. There is light there.


Wishing you peace and love.


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