Life is constantly in motion. Even when you take time to be still it tends to be only a moment.
When I was a kid, as much as I was the geek who enjoyed school, a part of me looked forward to being done with my formal education. I have often said that college was less about learning from my classes and professors and much more about learning how to become an independent adult.
As I got older, though, I started to see that while formal education tends to come to an end there is perpetually more to be learned. In truth, you are always learning.
Some of the things that you learn are obvious and in your face. Others are far more subtle and even might not occur to you until well after they were learned.
It’s equally important to learn both what to do and what not to do. Sometimes knowing the wrong way will teach you far more than knowing the right way.
Embracing that you are always learning can help you to grow. Your life can improve, and you can develop new abilities, talents, skills, and knowledge. Also, when you embrace that you are constantly learning you become better enabled to work with change.
Change is inevitable and constant
One of the things I have learned in this life is that change is a constant. No matter how much something may appear to be as it once was it has changed.
This applies to people, places, and things. The house I spent my late teen years in, for example, when last I saw it was a totally different color than when I lived there. The trees outside my apartment may look as they always have, but up close there are subtle differences in their bark and overall structure.
Even when you stand in one place for a long time the world around you will change. The air will shift, the sky will lighten and darken and lighten again, the temperature will vary. You cannot hold anything in a single place, unchanged, forever.
This can and should be an amazing thing. It represents so much room to learn and gain new opportunities. Unfortunately, change tends to terrify people.
Perfect examples of this are those who support Brexit, Trump, and various other reactionary ideologies. People who believe that turning back the clock makes it possible to undo change.
The truth is that you cannot go back to what was. Why? Because it has changed (and for that matter often was not what they now believe that it was, then).
For example, no matter how much white nationalists want an all-white nation that is impossible. Even they are not as white as they like to think they are, and the world they desire to create never existed in the first place.
These and other reactionaries have been borne of a fear of change.
How do you overcome fear of change? By embracing learning.
Learning to work with change
When you learn to accept that change is constant and inevitable you can work with it instead of against it.
That’s not the same as accepting a change you wish to alter, but instead of resisting it working with it to foment change. However, this is where mindfulness comes into play.
The only person you can control is yourself. Everything else that happens around you is outside of your control. Your thoughts, feelings, and actions belong to only you. So you are the only one who can take what you are learning and apply it.
You can vote in elections, attend protests, write and call government officials, boycott awful businesses, and that’s pretty much it when it comes to how you can impact the world without. But when it comes to you, what you think, how you feel, what you feel, how you act — that you can work to influence, control, alter, and/or change.
Because you are always learning there is always an option for doing something new and different. You may think that you haven’t changed much in your life…but you have.
What you learn and how you learn is yours to choose. But when you make a decision to apply something you have learned you gain the ability to apply the empowerment that is already yours.
Learn to use your power
A lot of what you encounter in the world today are various forces that desire to only expand their own power and influence. Whether it’s religion, business, or politics, they seek to make themselves stronger while making the people weaker and more pliable.
To do this they employ fear, usually tied to artificial lack and scarcity. Fear that there are not enough jobs, isn’t enough time, insufficient technologies for everyone, lack of money, not enough faith in God, too many foreigners taking scant resources, and so on. They use these fears to disempower because when you feel disempowered it’s human nature to seek guidance.
Rather than guide, many of these people and institutions want to direct. The difference is in providing tools to empower versus tools offering no empowerment that still appear to represent solutions. The former guidance opens you up to learning for yourself while the latter direction narrows your viewpoint to follow and take what you are given.
You have more power than that. No matter your background, your environment, your upbringing, education, life experience, and what-have-you, you are worthy and deserving of learning. When you learn you grow and develop new abilities to expand and change your life.
Learning will expand both the good and bad that you know. For example, in the process of learning, you may discover someone or something you followed and respected before has been using you and lying to you. On the other hand someone or something you disrespected might be offering you empowerment tools you were blinded from seeing before.
Believe you can learn
There are many messages that say you cannot learn anything new after a certain point. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” for example.
This is utterly untrue. Age makes no difference, so long as you choose to be learning you can be.
Education and learning never stop. What does stop, however, is how much you choose to learn. People can and do choose to close themselves to new ideas, possibilities, and potential for any number of personal reasons.
I wouldn’t tell that person they are wrong. However, because change is constant and inevitable, what they think they know might become wrong, in time. Like it or not, change happens, and it will still impact you even if you deny it, ignore it, or resist it.
When a change is undesirable you can and should work to make a new change. You can’t undo it, but you can be proactive, learn new ways and means, and make a different change. Just remember that the only person who you can change and who you can help to learn is YOU.
If that’s true, why do I share my philosophy and ideas in articles such as this? Because I have learned from the examples of others and believe that sharing what I have learned can help you to learn, too. Even the most introverted among us don’t live in a vacuum. Humans are social creatures and we can learn and grow together even as the individuals that we are.
Recognize that you are always learning. What you learn and how you learn is yours to choose. It is a never-ending process, and you are as capable as you believe yourself to be.
Let me conclude by asking this — what might you seek to learn today?
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and you can learn new things all the time.