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The Dynamics of Transition

I came upon this article I wrote for a magazine back in 2000. It may give you some food for thought…
The Dynamics of Transition is one of the most crucial elements of conscious human existence. Transition can be defined as passing from one stage or moment of your life onto the next. Transition can be a very conscious process. Or, as is most often the case, it can become a forced passageway which is not calculated, hoped, or planned for.
The Witness
The Buddhist is trained to develop the ability to consciously step back from themselves and view all factors of their life. This process is called differing things by different schools of thought. Perhaps it is best defined as developing, “The Witness.”
The Witness is you stepping back from you and observing what you are doing, why you are doing it, what you are feeling, and why you are feeling it. The techniques for the development of this level of consciousness are not some advanced form of meditation which you must be initiated into for it to become fully actualized. It is simply you becoming very conscious of you.
The is a very necessary step on the Spiritual Path. Particularly in this fast paced material world, where life changes in an instant, driven by any number of undefined reasons.
If you do not possess the ability to consciously witness yourself, you will not be able to make the changes or transitions which constantly occur in life from a perspective of consciousness. Instead, you will simply be thrown from one life melodrama onto the next and the next and the next.
How do you develop The Witness? Stop, Look, Listen. Don't make excuses for your actions. Don't judge your thoughts. Simply witness their existence. From this, you will define the basis of you.
Transition, Good or Bad
For those individuals who do not choose to refined their consciousness, each transition in life is defined only in its most elemental emotions: good or bad. Thus, the experiences of transition become only animalistic determinants which one either ultimately loves or hates.
Life proves, to everyone who lives it, that it cannot be wholly calculated. Situations are going to occur that you did not anticipate or expect. Though many have attempted to live a shelter life to the degree that many of these random occurrences are eliminated, no doubt, sooner or later each person, no matter how protected, will encounter an unexpected rapid transition. This can occur from sickness, a physical accident, the oncoming death of a loved one, or even falling in love. From these, and so many other occurrences, one's life is set out of balance as all things are rapidly changed.
There are those who live their lives defined by such chaos that virtually every moment of their existence is delineated by unexpected occurrences, rapid, and unexpected transitions—both joyous and traumatic. These are the people who express their existence on a very rudimentary level and continually seek out arguments, confrontations, intoxication, lust, and even infatuation. To this type of individual, the constant roller coaster of experience comes to be an addiction—where they are constantly searching for the next adrenaline rush of experience.
No particular lifestyle, including the spiritual, is absent from this type of individual. Some “Spiritual” individuals love to believe and, in fact, argue that their religion, their spiritual teacher, their form of meditation, is superior to all others. This is done simply to cause the controversy necessary for them to get their next adrenaline rush.
What occurs from a life lived at this level is that one is thrust into the world of winning and losing. Loss and gain equals emotional disruption. Emotional disruption is the pathway to a life void of enlightenment.
On the other side of the coin, there are those who are so sedentary in their ways that the moment even the slightest change occurs they are thrust into a world of not knowing what to do. Thus, the world of (even mild) transition becomes chaos to them.
From the perspective of Zen we understand that life is a pathway. On any pathway there will be hills and valleys. How you climb the hill and descend into the valleys will delineate how conscious your pathway is towards enlightenment.
At the basis of your conscious transition is your ability to witness yourself. From this, you gained personal understand. From personal understanding, you can transcend the selfish wants and desires of your human form and move to a more refined space of consciousness where you are not solely driven by what you want, what you desire. Instead, you become sensitive and interactive with the needs of others and the universe around you.
How does this effect transition? By giving you the ability not to struggle. But, to accept the ever-changing nature of life.
The Acts of Others
Often times, transitions are brought on by the acts of others. Though we may not like another person's actions. In Zen we understand that, "Life is perfect." And that, the only thing which makes us lose this understanding of perfection, is personal desire—the desires for things to be different than they are.
Thus, by knowing yourself, accepting other, accepting that life is perfect, your path through transitional change becomes a natural process, possessing no boundaries.
Daily Transitions
Every day we each experience numerous transitions in our life. Most of these are must less traumatic than the aforementioned life altering occurrence. Waking up is a transition. This process takes us from the ethereal world of dreams, to this place we call reality. Leaving your house to go to work, go shopping, or to visit a friend is a transition. What occurs is that you move from the enclosed safety of your abode to an external world where anything can happen.
Coming home from an outing is a transition. You move from the seeming chaos of the external world and reenter your realm of relative safety.
Sitting to meditate is a transition. You sit down, stop your random thoughts, and begin to focus your mind.
Standing up from a seated position is also a transition. Your body was at rest, now it must support itself with muscle strength.
All of these actions are transitions. Most people, however, never give them any thought. This is where the person of consciousness differs from the person of the world - they take the time to realize that each of these simply acts effects the passageway of life.
If you wake up, jump out of bed in a groggy, half-asleep state, your physical and mental actions will not be performed with any sense of excellence. If you run out of your front door, giving your passageway no thought, you may run into the rain, be wearing winter clothing in the midst of summer, or smash into another individual who is approaching your home. If you rush in from your outdoor adventure, you may forget things in your car, step on your cat, or forget to close your front door. If you sit to meditate without proper preparation, you thoughts will run rapid and they will drive you to fantasies and the reliving of past situations and hopes for future events. If you jump up from a seated position, you may injure your knees or cause blood to rush from your head which will make you see stars.
All of these things can be avoided. Simply move slowly and experience the transition. Take your time to change from one state of mind to the next, one physical location to another. Do this no matter how seemingly mundane your physical or mental action may appear.
Experience the space you are in now. Experience as you move to your next space. Experience the new space once you get there. And, don't rush.

Conscious transition is the pathway to Nirvana.