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    Something to Think About: Changing and Changeless

a rushing river with white-water through the forest and sunlight streaming throug the trees
Dr. Amit Sood says, "Let the changing be perceived as novel and not overwhelming; let the changeless be perceived as comforting and not boring."

Dear friend,

The idea that created you and me hasn’t changed. That same idea put hearts and lungs in our chests, brains in our skulls, and intestines, livers, and kidneys below our diaphragms. I was born with and still have this basic design. My eyes, which look at the world, are the same eyes I had the day I was born, and the person behind the eyes, the one that perceives the world, is the same. All these are changeless.

But there is another part that always changes. Each moment, my thoughts change, my breath changes, even my heart rhythm shows subtle changes from one beat to another. (Within limits, the greater this beat-to-beat variation, the healthier the heart.) My physical body thus remains in a constant flux; no structure in my physical body in its present form is precisely as it was when I was born.

Further, each of the fifty to seventy-five trillion cells in my physical body has its own natural trajectory. The cells that line the intestines live for only a few days; the skin cells live for a few weeks, while the red blood cells stay in circulation for about four months. Every year 1 percent of my heart muscles are created afresh. I am like a river—flowing, ever moving.

The changing parts of you and me differ from each other, even if the differences are too subtle to be recognized by the naked eye or a fancy microscope. The changeless part of you and me are shared. My default is to create separations when I look at differences and get bored with the similarities. I should choose otherwise.

I should focus on the changing part of you to value your uniqueness and the shared part of ours to connect with our commonness. The changing and the changeless complete each other. Without the changing, the world wouldn’t have moved beyond its primordial soup; without the changeless, the world wouldn’t have a firm anchor to manifest life. The changeless is the screen; the changing is the movie that plays on it. Both feed each other.

Value the changing (the differences) in those in front of you and love the changeless (the commonalities) in all.

May the changing within you honor and value the changing in others; may the changeless within you love the changeless in all.

Take care.
Dr. Sood 2

Read, Changing and Changeless and previous blog posts.

Also, follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.