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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Book Review: How Do You Live In A Changing World?

March 20, 2009

Ed and Deb Shapiro
The Huffington Post
March 19, 2009

When everything looks hopeless we do have the
chance to grow into something better: what the
caterpillar calls the end of the world, we call a
butterfly! But, like a butterfly, the journey to
such growth can be a difficult one, including
having to transform ourselves as completely as a
caterpillar does. But we can do it--YES WE CAN!

The US has just gone through one of the greatest
changes in world history: a white majority
electing a black president. We have gone from
treating black people as second-class, lesser
human beings to honoring them as our equals; from
having a corrupt, self-centered president who
instigated an illegal war and depleted vast
funds, to a president who is of the people and
for the people, and who says, "I am in it for
you". This is testament indeed that positive change is always possible.

The US is now facing the most serious change in
financial history, brought on by a greed and
negligence that said: 'we get what we want but
it's not enough and we want more and we do not
care how we get it.' As a result we have gone
from opulence and seemingly endless riches to confronting an economic meltdown.

This is a monumental change that challenges us
all. It is creating fear, turmoil and chaos.
Every which way we turn we see the consequences:
people losing their jobs and living in tent
cities, a million dollar heiress now cleaning
houses for a living, and others who have committed suicide.

So how do we live with this change? We believe
the best ways are to recognize that change is
inevitable as it is the essence of all life; that
there is always the potential for positive change
in every moment; and to stay grounded and in touch with our peace.

1. Recognize that nothing is permanent
The financial collapse we are facing should not
be surprising as nothing lasts, not our money or
investment, our feelings or our loved ones;
everything is constantly changing. This latest
change is just further proof of that truth.
Seeing this impermanence of all things means that this too shall pass.

Just as our thoughts and feelings are constantly
changing, in the same way life never stands
still. As Swami Satchidananda said, "Life is all
about coming and going." Everything that is
happening now will change into something else,
every structure will one day collapse, and new forms will be created.

Without change in ourselves we become stifled and
stagnant; without change in the world we will not
survive. The wisdom we learn in this way is
invaluable as it makes us stronger and better human beings.

2. Know that each day is a new beginning
Just as a palm tree can transform muddy water
into sweet coconut milk, so we now have the
opportunity to transform fear into courage,
selfishness into kindness, and loss into a new
beginning. Spring is here, with new life bursting
forth, and in the same way we are also capable to
creating a new life for ourselves in every moment.

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but
anyone can start today and make a new ending. Maria Robinson

3. Stay grounded and calm
As every wave has both a crest and a dip, the
clue to survival is being able to paddle in the
dip so we are ready to ride the next crest. Two
of the best ways that we have found to help
ourselves cope with the dips are yoga and
meditation. Yoga releases physical and mental
stress and relaxes the body. Meditation
cultivates a calm, peaceful and joyful mind; it
enables us to be present with what is and to accept and live with change.

Here is a meditation to help you stay calm and
present. It is based on the flow of your breath,
which is like an anchor that gives you stability
and steadiness. And just as the breath comes in
and goes out, so it is like the coming and going
of all change. Practice for a few minutes or as long as you like.

Sit upright and relaxed. Breathe in and out
gently, and simply watch the natural rhythm of
your breath. Follow the breath in and out, and as
you do let your mind relax into the rhythm. With
each in and out breath silently repeat, "May I be
well, may I be peaceful, may I flow with all changes."

So what changes are you going through? How are
you being able to cope? Do let us know by commenting below. Enjoy the journey!

*****
Ed and Deb Shapiro are authors of over 15 books,
and lead meditation retreats and workshops. Deb
is the author of the award-winning book Your Body
Speaks Your Mind. Their latest book, BE THE
CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You And The
World foreword by Robert Thurman and A Message
 From The Dalai Lama, will be published in
October 2009 by Sterling Ethos. They are
corporate consultants, and the creators of
Chillout daily inspirational text messages on
Sprint cell phones. See their website: www.EdandDebShapiro.com
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