Change Isn't Good Or Bad, It Just Is

Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations, Lifehacker's weekly dip into the pool of stoic wisdom, and a guide to using its waters to reflect on and improve your life.

Photo: Richard Mortel

Protect Your Mind As Much As You Protect Your Body

Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations, Lifehacker's weekly dip into the pool of stoic wisdom, and a guide to using its waters to reflect on and improve your life.

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This week's selection comes from Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, 4.42. He comments on the true nature of change:

"It is no evil for things to undergo change, and no good for things to subsist in consequence of change."

Here's another version:

"There is no evil in things changing, just as there is no good in persisting in a new state."

What It Means

Change, in any of its forms, is not a good thing or a bad thing. It just is. Your opinions and how you react to change is where those labels come in. Abandon those notions. There's no need to fear change, and there's no reason to try and fight it. It's only wasted energy.

What to Take From It

We are suspicious of change. Partly because our natural instincts tell us that change in our environment may be a danger to us in some way, but also because it forces us out of our comfort zones. We're trapped in a perpetual state of acclimation because change comes for us no matter what, and you can't avoid it. Aurelius goes on to say:

Time is like a river made up of the events which happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place, and this will be carried away too.

Change, the river, is a constant. It flows and flows, and all you can do is adapt and cope. Change being forced upon you is not an evil act committed by the gods of fate in an attempt to torture your soul, it is simply the nature of reality. Turn and face the strange. Accept it. How you choose to react is all that matters. You must learn to swim in this river.

You can read the entirety of Meditations for free here.


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