Comfort and the Push for Change

At times, something in the self grows wary of revolution. Even when one feels the way things are do not work, the current system of self-management or social management are harmful to well-being, there is still a fear of what will happen in the gap between the old and new systems. Revolutions are rarely without cost, and the cost is felt for all. Huge moments of change open up possibility and free a chaotic kind of energy that cannot be easily tamed and directed. Indeed, this energy is available to all, and might run counter to one’s intentions.

A part clings fast to comfort and stillness. When this part is not aligned with the change at hand, it saps the energy and will one needs to bring forth the change. We grow bored and resentful at our jobs and dream of a life of radical independence, but when the time comes to take the step, we look at our lives and wonder, “How will I pay for all this? What if I lose the comforts I have? What if what happens next is worse?” But if instead we denying this need to stop, to be still, we tear the roots of the self and distress the entire organism.

Der Stier, by Franz Mark

This stillness provides space for the imagination, giving it room to root into the soil and experience the change needed to bring vision into manifestation. Instead of narrowing our focus to a rigid view of what we think should happen, stillness brings a broadness and softness that helps us to adapt without losing the core of our vision.

This need for comfort pushes against the desire for radical change. We need a place for stillness, a place where we can rest and receive pleasure. Instead of pushing this away, how can we include this in the life and world we are attempting to create?

Many goddesses of love and pleasure are also known as goddesses of war: Freya, Aphrodite, Ishtar. Is love and pleasure included in the change we want to enact? Are the animal needs of our bodies given due honor, or are they shamed and suppressed? Even a vow of abstinence must allow space for the energy of craving and lust, else those urges sneak out in unexpected and unfortunate ways. Denial of the needs and wants of the body is a poor foundation for a revolution.

Our bodies and instincts offer power to the vision. When aligned to a sense of purpose, the body can tolerate incredible adversity and deprivation, but it cannot escape its own basic needs. Instead of attempting to assert “mind over matter,” bring the mind into the body. Feel your creatureliness, your pleasures and pains. Invite your mind to truly know and inhabit the body. Breathe into the places of tension and resistance, letting yourself feel what is happening without commentary from the mind. Exhale, allowing that tension to ease and space to expand. Within the bones and muscles is power and stillness.