“Put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward.”
These words are from Zen teacher Dogen Zenji who lived in Japan during the 13th century.† I mentioned this “backwards step” to a friend recently and he replied, “but be careful; don’t take it when you are standing at the edge of a cliff.”
We laughed, and in thinking more about his comment, the problem, when it comes to change, is that we always think we are standing at the edge of a cliff, though, of course, we rarely are.† Letting go of the known, familiar and comfortable is difficult.† What we donít know feels dangerous.† This, I think, is why we hold on so tightly to what we have and know, even if it is not serving us. This must be where the expression “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t” comes from; reinforcing the idea that change is always bad.
A simple model of change that I find to be useful, for myself and in the teaching that I do, is a three step approach:
1)††††† Letting go of what is either gone or needs to be let go of.
2)††††† Being in a place where we donít know.
3)††††† New openings and new beginnings.
Next: How to let go, not know, and create new openings