By John J. Murphy
When people face change, there is often a tendency to resist. Why is this? What is it about change that people resist? Or is it really "change" that we resist at all? Could it be something else? After all, people do not resist a pay increase. Nor do people resist changing clothes, changing menus, changing jobs, or changing lifestyles. We tend to vote for change at the polls. Nearly every candidate runs a campaign focusing on change. We change our minds and we change our moods, often daily and without effort. In fact, our bodies are designed for change, effortlessly. Nature is all about change. Do you think grass has to try to grow green?
So if it is not change that we resist, what is it? The answer is deceivingly simple; it is a negative "perception" of change, held in mind and driven by a fearful ego. If we see the change as negative or overly disruptive, we tend to resist. If we see it as positive, we tend to accept it. This is a powerful and significant force. Our perception influences our behavior, one way or another. Stop and ask yourself from time to time: How do I see the world? How do I see myself in the world?
The pursuit of "awakening" and enlightenment challenges us to change our perception, ultimately leading us to no perception at all. In other words, as we ascend higher, we leave perception behind and gain true knowledge. With knowledge, there is no need for perception. We rise to a level of "I am that I am" awareness. We grow in totality. We see things we have never seen before. And because we "see" differently, we "experience" differently. We are more at peace with the nature and grace of change. We release fears, doubts, barriers, and limiting beliefs. We experience greater and greater flow in our lives, tapping into the unseen energy and the abundance that surrounds us. We empty our minds of useless clutter and free our souls.
But this enlightening ascension does not come without resisting forces. The ego fights back. This is its nature. Anytime fear creeps in, an attitude of attack, retreat, or defense follows. The ego feels threatened by our awakening because our ascension requires the transcendence of ego. We have to renounce ego to fully embrace Spirit -- and the ego knows this! Be prepared for the ego "force" against you. It exists now, but it coaxes you as an ally as long as it has you convinced that you are one with the ego. This association of ego with self, which give us a false self, is the very force keeping people trapped in lower states of consciousness and awareness. It is the root cause of all of fear and doubt, attachment and aversion. To ascend beyond this fear and doubt, we must renounce and deliver ourselves from ego.
When I began this transformation, the ego responded in several different ways. At first, it was curious about the various teachings and applications I was learning and practicing. It was looking at these insights as a way of further expansion of itself -- as it usually does. Perhaps the ego could use this information for gain in some way? Maybe it could persuade me to feel better about myself (false ego self) with this profound knowledge. From an ego perspective, I might even be able to impress people with enlightened teachings and writings, make more money and become famous -- at least temporarily -- for each of these desires is never enough to satisfy the ego for long. It always wants more. Or, maybe I could use the spiritual lessons to improve my body or (ego) self-image. This is the ego's perspective. It constantly seeks to fill a delusional void, a perspective that suggests we are not already whole and complete and one with God. To the ego, we are never enough.
Turbulence will present itself in many ways. We need to be prepared. As the ego is tested, and we learn to renounce it as the great enlightened masters have done, we see these turbulent times differently. This should not be frightening. There is nothing to fear with Spirit -- unless we are an ego, which we are not. The ego will be afraid for its life, which means if we experience any fear at all, we know it is our ego feeding the mind with delusions. Spirit is not capable of fear. It knows no fear. So, when we "are ready," our tests and lessons will appear with a variety of challenges. We can respond with an empathetic smile or a vicious stare. We can speak softly with compassion or scream loudly with vengeance. We can act kindly or rudely, positively or negatively, spiritually or selfishly. We have a choice. Just be aware of the choice the ego wishes to make. This is a critical first step to elevating our awareness and instilling a deeper sense of inner peace.
John Murphy is a spiritual mystic serving as a business consultant, leadership development teacher, process improvement expert, and management coach. He is the founder of Venture Management Consultants, Inc., a firm specializing in creating lean, high performance work cultures, and author of numerous books including Beyond Doubt: Four Steps to Inner Peace, from which this article is excerpted.