In the second part of the A to Z of Becoming, V stands for the verb “vary”.
I found this photo of an old barometer in my collection and it really captures something about the natural function of variation. A barometer is pretty constantly moving, responding continuously to the rising or falling of the atmospheric pressure. I’ve always thought it quite funny that one of the words on these old barometers is “variable” because I tend to think, when it comes to weather, when is anything other than “variable”?! But then, that’s probably down to my experience of living in Scotland for 60 years! I’ve never lived in a country where the weather is the same, day in, day out.
The truth is Nature is constantly varying because all of Nature is a dynamic phenomenon. And the Universe so loves diversity!
But there’s an interesting aspect of human experience, which is “tolerance”. All of our sensory systems have a tendency to tolerance. That is, when something new comes along we notice it, but once its been there for a bit, we stop noticing it. How often have you had the experience of suddenly becoming aware of a noise just when it stops?
Not quite the same as tolerance, but in some ways related, we also tend to move to the “back of our minds” the routines of our lives. This can lead to living on auto-pilot (or as I say in this blog, living like a zombie).
It’s good that a lot of things are dealt with on auto-pilot. What on earth would life be like if we had to think about every breath we take, if we had to initiate every beat of our hearts, if we had to actively, consciously digest all our food, and so on…..? What on earth would life be life if we had to be consciously aware all the time of every single sensory signal our body picks up, second by second?
But the problems come when we default our whole lives to auto-pilot. What happens then is that we tend to just keep repeating the same behaviours, having the same thoughts, feeling the same feelings, and, ultimately, neither making choices, nor creating any life anew.
So, it’s also good to disrupt the default, to break the routines, and raise our conscious level to higher state of awareness.
One way to do that is to vary something.
Walk a different way to work. Choose something different for breakfast. Read a different newspaper. Deliberately introduce a variation to your “normal” habits.
Go on, try it. Vary some things this week and see what that feels like.