All life is subject to definite laws of change. The I Ching or Book of Changes, is a collection of significant archetypal scenarios that highlight those points of inevitable change. However, the I Ching also points out that though change is inevitable, we are free to make choices that set in motion their own flow of changes.
Freestanding water in an uncovered pot will eventually evaporate into the atmosphere. Such is the inevitable flow of change for this substance. I, in turn, could ignite a fire beneath that pot of water and thereby hasten an inevitable change by my intervention.
We are all beings who are going to die, this is inevitable. However, the choices we make in life may serve to shorten or lengthen the duration of our life, as well as determine the quality and fulfillment we will experience in human form.
Our animal contemporaries utilize the deep roots of accumulated archetypal wisdom to survive life on this planet. Animal decisions are rapid and automatic, involving little if any conscious deliberation. The human animal, with its latest development, the neocortex or rational brain, has, at least on the surface, parted ways with its internal instinctual animal knowledge. Google has become the warehouse of and vehicle to archetypal knowledge—one click away for conscious consideration and choice.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico, warn that this neocortex is not to be trusted as a worthy arbiter of decision making, going so far as to suggest its functioning has been commandeered by a foreign installation. We’d be hard pressed to argue that the decision making of the modern brain isn’t under the influence of some aberration, as it has so quickly put us on the brink of destruction!
Perhaps we are at a stage of evolution where our new cog, the neocortex, needs to run its course before it finds its rightful, modest place next to the archetypal wisdom and instinct we inherit largely from our animal selves.
We must also appreciate that life itself spawned this new possibility of effecting change more creatively by growing a neocortex to begin with. Life wants consciousness to participate alongside archetypal wisdom and instinct. We are at the stage now of discovering how to do that responsibly, hopefully before we destroy ourselves.
On an individual level, we are all charged with taking control of our lives with consciousness. We are change agents who must learn about and respect the ancient wisdom we inherit in our bodies—wisdom that guides decision making through image and emotion. To be responsible, we must, with consciousness, discover why our animal selves might react with fear, anxiety, attraction, or aggression. We must face, as well, habits we have fallen into that mollify but don’t truly satisfy our deepest needs.
We are often confronted in dreams by the images of powerful or weakened animals that reflect and communicate the reactions of our instinctual selves to daily neocortex decision making. If we take seriously these reactions from our deepest human nature, and apply them to the decisions and habits of our waking lives, we are free to introduce changes that could realign us, placing us in good balance to hasten boiling the water of our own spirit/body selves and facilitate our own transformation.
Such are the possibilities of human change!