The Mystery Of Change

I came across these words by Malcolm Muggeridge: “When I look back on my life nowadays, which I sometimes do, what strikes me most forcibly about it is what seemed at the time most significant and seductive, seems now most futile and absurd.” I can relate to that because I see the same thing in my own life.

I suspect that what lies at the heart of Muggeridge’s words is the mystery of change in human character. We can teach, instruct, preach and even coherce people in to changing, but in the end real change lies beyond our manipulations and seductions. It’s a bit like the seasons. We don’t cause them to happen. They simply happen at a rythym and pace we don’t control or fully understand.

There’s a mystery about our entering a stage of readiness for a particular change in life. It kind of happens in spite of us. Does that then mean that all attempts at nurturing change in our own lives and in the lives of others are futile? Of course not! But it does mean that we always need to remember, that in spite of what we do, change happens on a level beyond our grasp. It remains a mystery and is ultimately out of our hands.

I think that seeking to understand this makes life a lot easier. It certainly nurtures greater patience and understanding, not only with others, but also with ourselves.


About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
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12 Responses to The Mystery Of Change

  1. Greg. says:

    Malcolm was in India and spotted what looked like a beautiful young woman cooling off in the Ganges. On impulse, he stripped off, dived in and swam swiftly towards her. She was in fact a toothless old hag, and he was at once reviled but yet later ashamed and relieved it was so. He declared this incident to be the turning point of his life. And look where it led him.
    (From Ravi Zacharias’ book-Can Man Live Without God.)


  2. katy says:

    Shakespeare sais it best:- All the worlds a stage, and the men and women merely players. They have their exits and entrances..
    And one man in his time plays many parts.


  3. Life remains interesting! Thanks for this reflection, Don.


  4. ladyfi says:

    Such words of wisdom. That quotation and your thoughts really resonate with me.


  5. lyn Stephenson says:

    Real change “…lies beyond our manipulations and seductions” and “happens at a rythym and pace we don’t control or fully understand.” How true your words are Don. I know that in some areas of my own thinking, perceptions and priorities, I have done an almost 360 degree turn over the years. Perhaps what is just as amazing, is that when I look back, it has all been part of the necessary process of getting me to the place where I am at present…which I guess will continue to change with time.

    Malcolm Muggeride also said, “Only dead fish swim with the stream.” I hope I am always open to change when it happens, rather than being a dead fish..


    • Don says:

      Thanks Lyn for your meaningful comment – always enjoy them. I’m with you on that. When I look at my own life and see the changes, I too am amazed. I find it to be such a mystery and can’t claim I did it. It’s somehow happened within me, but also beyond me. That necessary process you speak of is so crucial. I think so much of our impatience lies in not understanding the necessity of that process. I also think that much religion doesn’t have a clue when it comes to understanding that process and its necessity.

      Love that quote from Malcolm Muggeridge. What an image.


  6. nrhatch says:

    Great quote from Muggeridge. I took it in a different way . . . most of our striving comes from Ego’s desire for attention, applause, and accolades.

    As we progress along the path, we realize that external approval is seductivive . . . but insignificant. Our desires for recognition from others is futile andand absurd.


    • Don says:

      You’re so right, Nancy. Love your approach to it. There’s something wonderful about that process where you no longer seek approval in those externals, as you say. Your use of the word “absurd” is so fitting. When you really begin to look at the pushes and pulls of ego, they are absolutely absurd. It’s good to be awakened to that absurdity. Thank you for such an insightful comment.


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