Change agents seem to take a hand in the evolution of individuals or groups. People who come into a situation, or a life, and their very presence seems to lead to some kind of change, be it inner, outer or both. It seems, that in different times in our lives, we can all act as change agents for ourselves, for our families, friends, communities, nations or worlds.
Change agents are often different from those around them. They seem to move into and out of situations, and, by so doing, changing the dynamics of the individuals and groups with which they interact. Change agents seem to represent equally the kinds of forces that lead to negative change as well as positive change. Change agents can look like, can be, anyone. Change agents can be recognized by the effects that they have on the world around them.
Change agents seem to awaken some latent power of self-examination in others that has been bubbling for a while until it reaches the boiling point. When dealing with individuals, these people seem to cause them to question their own beliefs and lifestyles, which raises emotions and thoughts that seek to attain material expression through actions taken as a result of the initial or ongoing interaction. When dealing with groups, these people seem to verbalize commonly held beliefs that have remained at the periphery and yet have been obvious enough to be recognized by all, once stated aloud.
A certain charisma also seems to accompany change agents. They seem to exude an auric force that can be greater or lesser, can be inwardly our outwardly-focused, can be higher or lower in orientation. Change agents can appeal to the highest standards and aspirations of humanity, or they can appeal to the lowest standards and aspirations of humanity. Their philosophies can be geared toward spiritual or intellectual development, or material or sexual gratification. They can lead us toward the stars and the light, or towards the inner
caverns and darkness.
You might know an agent of change. You might be friends with one, or might know one at the periphery of your acquaintance circle. This person will stand out to you, and will have something about them that you want to know better. This attraction may, often, be misunderstood as meaning something more than what it truly is. Because of our society, and our needs, often, we place upon others expectations or desires that originate within ourselves. Often, those expectations and desires are of a sexual or emotional nature. That agent of change, depending upon his or her self-awareness, may respond or not, but in all instances, change, negative or positive, will occur.
In a group situation, the expectations and desires of the group may lead the agent of change to take on responsibilities or implement decisions that may or may not satisfy the underlying expectations and desires that led her or him to that organization in the first place. In either case, change, negative or positive, will occur. Institutions rise and fall based upon the actions or inactions of agents of change.
If some people are change agents, does that mean that other people are not? No. It does not mean that at all. All souls are equal, and each destiny is as important as every other. Given the right situation, anyone can be a change agent. If one’s level of knowledge or desire finds expression in ideas or paths that intersect with another’s knowledge or desire to change their current path, change occurs. Change is a fact of life. It happens regardless of our will, in most instances. In fact, those times when we fight change the most are when change cannot help but overtake us.
Change leaves us devastated. Or exhilarated. The only thing that is certain, is that change changes us. For some, denying the efficacy of change is a way of life. Living, solidly implanted within an unchanging perspective regarding the world. Refusing to admit to change, refusing to allow it within the sphere of one’s own personal circumference and life. These people fight change viscerally and desperately, waging losing battles in an endless war.
Being able to recognize agents of change, and the necessity of embracing change in life is one of the major lessons we all have to learn. Often, the very act of learning to identify change agents teaches us something important about ourselves. As we come to know them, their values, beliefs and ideals, we learn to examine our own perspectives, our most deeply held beliefs, values and aspirations. The intensity of that self-examination can and should give rise to intense emotions. Those feelings can be internally or externally directed, giving rise to change in others. Or, it can be reflected back at the agent of change. The outcome of that reaction is, again, dependent upon the orientation and self-awareness of the receiver.
Each of us can list off a number of occasions in our lives when we have fought some change, and ended up worse off because of it. Even seemingly negative change can often be beneficial in the long run, just as seemingly positive change can often be costly in that same long run. Fighting the inevitable is like fighting the rising of the sun. It’s going to happen no matter what.
The path through life is not clear. None of us were given a road map. None of us know the terrain, past the moment that we can see clearly. Relying upon our past experiences in order to predict the future, whether it be a lover’s behavior or the stock market, does not work very well. In fact, relying upon the past too much reinforces egoistic perspective ossification. We get stuck in our beliefs. We say things like, ‘Well, it’s always been this way.’ We become rigid, stiff, pedantic, stentorian. We become institutions, connected to and dependent upon the personal and social perspective that we proselytize with every breath, thought and action.
Being an agent of change is a difficult proposition. Agents of change are often hated and feared, as well as respected and revered. The apparent contradiction in the aforementioned is not so contradictory, when you think about it. Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, JFK, MLK, Ghandi, Hitler, Akhenaton, are all individuals who fomented change and who were both hated and loved simultaneously. It occurs in our own lives. There are people that love and hate each of us.
Making the choice to be an agent of change is accepting the responsibility of embracing change. Of making a stand against rigidity and stagnation and seeking to express the inner urge toward movement, toward manifesting fully what is within, without. Change hurts us. Change hurts those we love. Sometimes we don’t want to change, because it will hurt those around us. We stay the same, so that they feel comfortable. Each time we make that choice we step closer to dissolution, to the Black Hole of Immolation, or sacrifice for the good of others. Often, our own fear of change reinforces the desires of those around us, and we sink back into stability, settling in front of the television to watch the next episode of ‘Are you Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?’
We’re lucky, in one sense, that becoming an agent of change often happens unawares; that it ends up being the fruition of an on-going process whereby one outgrows one’s inner and/or outer environment and must move to another. In these instances, the change happens in sporadic episodes of intensity, whereby all around one’s self is uprooted uproariously, and drama and pathos ensues. As the path clarifies and the brush settles, the clarity of the new state of things becomes apparent, and the nature of the moment can clearly be recognized against the tapestry of the past as the result of a herculean effort, clearing the way for even greater, future feats of inner and outer strength.
Becoming a change agent changes you: changes your life, changes the life of everyone around you. It is a responsibility, one not to be taken lightly.
I seek to be an agent of change. Do you?