Freedom to Change
Tudor Caliman, Registered Psychologist
Founder, Made in Thought Counselling Services
Life is full of paradoxes, and you may know and/or have lived a few.
So, in the spirit of absurdity, here is another: resisting change is change. Not as an idea, but as an actuality. You are life, and life is about adaptation, which involves change and movement. Movement not only towards new experiences, but also towards reinforcing established ones. In life, change is unavoidable. Packed in various forms, shapes, and sizes, with the capacity to activate a spectrum of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours – from excitement to fear, from conscious choice to ‘a knee jerk reaction.’
But what happens when you resist change? Can resisting itself be considered a form of change?
To resist means to oppose, withstand, or try to slow down something. An act of some kind occurs that attempts to offset that somethingness. It is an internal pulse to counteract an internal/external pressure and to maintain familiar ground. Due to the ever-changing tides of life, the psyche can lag, clinging to past experiences instead of genuinely recognizing that it cannot prevent or avoid the change that has already happened.
Like swimming against the tide, each push back against the change shapes the overall ripples of experience.
Resisting can be a necessary act of survival, a motivational act to keep one’s head above water.
The initial acts of resisting are also creative acts of maintaining, reflecting the movements of memory, thoughts, and meaning. With enough frequency and intensity of practicing such movements, a mechanical process can form, shaped by neuroplasticity. The very act of resisting can sculpt, and thus change, how the brain responds to change. As a witness and participant in this process, you can influence and be influenced by the movement that is change.
Is change synonymous with freedom?
No. Freedom is being, being not in the moment, but being the moment. Not bounded by the psyche and its conditionings. A having without possessing, an intangible presence, like taking a deep breath, not clinging to the past, future, or imagination; letting life happen, while also providing opportunity to make things happen. Freedom provides space for the movement that is change to take form, shape, tangibility.
Change can incorporate experience, the movements of thought and relationships, into action and reaction, further shaping the memories of the past, the felt sense of the present, and anticipations of the future. When freedom is limited to a concept or an idea, forgetting the natural essence of one’s deep breath, it can lead to an increasingly narrow and mechanical life; filled with a sense of emptiness, loneliness, or burnout.
You are life, and the 'freedom to change' is ever present, shaped in adaptation.
The varying forms and qualities embodied in, by, and through change, point to the space that is freedom. The freedom to resist change changes the relationship that you have with change. Not needing to act on the plain of novelty, but on the plain of experience and memory, also known as the past…movement from one learned pattern of conditioning to another. So, to embrace the absurdity of it all, resisting change is change.