"inner direction"

by dr. susan nettleton


Movement and change are the dynamic qualities of life and as such are inevitable in the course of our personal and shared lives.   There is always some aspect of life in us or around us that is moving and changing.  Understanding this can bring acceptance and reassurance when changes are unwanted, or even overwhelming.  This is life.  Perhaps current times, as many feel, are exceptionally filled with upheaval.  Human history has had its times of tumultuous change, and yet life continues onward.  “Heng” is the ancient Chinese concept of Duration.  Duration is that which “lasts long,” that which expresses the enduring quality of life. The things in nature that have Duration endure because change, often cyclic, is actually renewing.  Renewal takes place by cycles of change.  This is a process of strengthening that gives endurance and duration. The cycles of change in nature have a constancy and consistency to them not always obvious.  

As humans, we too can be renewed and strengthened by change.  But that requires a certain constancy and consistency to who we are—an integration, an integrity, so that we are not fragmented or full of conflict.  This inner constancy is our inner direction, our compass that helps us find our way when things around us are different.  It is our deepest sense of what life is all about for us, what things matter most to us and includes self-trust and faith in the spiritual dimension of life.  If we do not lose site of our inner direction that really is the highest we feel is true within us, then we have constancy in the face of change and we are renewed and strengthened.   This is what gives us the capacity to move forward, solidity in the midst of change.