Don’t Fear the Change

Kris Azzarello Articles, English 9 Comments


The roast and pan story:

In a family where tradition has always been a very big part of their lives, the holidays arrived, making tradition even more important.

It was time for the traditional roast dinner. The mother prepared the roast carefully according to the family tradition, as her mother had, and her mother’s mother had. She carefully and lovingly cut off both ends of the roast before putting it in the roasting pan. The youngest daughter asked why she cut off the ends of the roast. The mother said that they always made the roast that way, it was tradition. The mother’s sister said they always made the roast that way because cutting the ends off made the meat more tender. The tradition versus tenderness discussion started to escalate and became louder in volume and harsher in tone. The grandmother came in to see what the commotion was. Both the mother and her sister asked Grandmother, is it tradition or meat tenderness that was the reason for cutting off the ends of the roast. The grandmother said, “My mother always cut off the ends of the roast. I never asked why, because it was always so tasty, it just had to be the right way to do it”. The youngest daughter, who had asked the question in the first place and was listening to all of this said; “Well, why don’t we just ask Great-Grandmother why she cut the ends of the roast off?” So, grandmother, mother, aunt and daughter all went together to the den where Great-Grandmother was sitting and knitting. They asked her; “Why did you cut the ends of the roast off before cooking? Is it the tradition of our people, does it make it more tender, why?” The Great-grandmother looked up and said; “The roast was too big for the one pan I had, so I cut off the ends so it would fit.”

Sometimes in our practice, we can become attached to how we first started practicing and can become absolutely certain of it, even after years have gone and memories blur a bit. We can romanticize our practice, forgetting the struggle and focusing only on pleasurable sensations and feelings. But the pleasurable is not always the beneficial.

Our practice supports our growth and being, not the other way around. Our practice changes, sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly, to support and encourage our growth. It might not seem so dazzling but it might be exactly what we need.

Take the apple tree. Apple blossoms so beautiful and fragrant that your fingertips ache with tenderness. Then the blossoms fall, the tree is then green with leaves, then comes the fruit, the fruit is less flashy than the blossoms but more nourishing.

Sometimes our practice shifts into another direction and we may feel we’ve lost “that lovin feeling”, the power and strength of our practice. But it is what we need most at that time. After focusing mainly on chanting, suddenly, chanting seems dry. We continue to chant, but start to feel badly, missing the initial excitement. As we consider where we went wrong (!), we find ourselves drawn to meditation on The Precepts. The Precepts suddenly become more alive for us than ever before. We start to see everything in the light of The Precepts, wondering how we could have missed this earlier. Or we are suddenly drawn inward to meditation when before we couldn’t sit still without fidgeting. What happened? What happened is that our practice changed to support us in our growth and change. If we worry about why we are being drawn to practicing a bit differently, we’ll miss the beauty of the now, the present, and possibly, new growth and a new depth in our practice.

There is room for tradition and change in our practice. 

Kris is a Reiki practitioner at Wildlife Works, a volunteer-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of distressed wildlife and the promotion of responsible attitudes about the preservation of native species, habitat, and the environment. For more information:

Kris is a Shinpiden Reiki Level III graduate of the International House of Reiki

Comments 9

  1. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  2. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Great article. It is always good to get back to the roots of a practice, why it is done in a particular way. It helps us to understand the practice more fully, which allows us to develop and progress in our practice.

  3. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Just read this, what a great timing:

    As we go through life, we accumulate layers of ideas about who we are and what we’re capable of achieving. As these layers accumulate, we tend to become increasingly rigid in our identification with certain views about ourselves and the world around us. Gradually, we lose our connection to the basic openness, clarity, and love that is the essence of our being. Our awareness is overwhelmed by hundreds of different thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Some we latch onto because they’re attractive fantasies or scary preoccupations; some we try to shove away because they’re too upsetting or because they distract us from whatever we’re trying to accomplish at the moment.
    Tsoknyi Rinpoche

  4. Avatar of Kelly McDermott-Burns

    Thanks Kris!  I appreciate the reminder.  Recently I have been feeling the need to mix it up a bit.  Change can be daunting.  Feeling free to open to new things expands my view and grants confidence.

  5. Avatar of Lee Partin

    Thank you Kris. I loved the article. A wonderful reminder to me as to what I need to do with my practice. I loved meeting you in Cincinnati. Looking forward to future events!

  6. Avatar of Kris Azzarello

    Thanks, Frans, Colin, Kelly and Lee for the kind comments and quote.  The roast story had been coming up in my thoughts for a while and the article was a reminder to myself, also, to remember to be open to the waves of change in my practice.

    Thank you, Frans, for being my teacher and supporting my exploration of the practices and myself.  It makes a huge difference to be able to discuss questions and concerns as they arise.

    Lee, it was great meeting you in Cincinnati!



  7. Avatar of Kelly McDermott-Burns

    The other thing the story illustrates so well is the way we attach significance to things through our own perceptions and how they seem to morph into something almost unrecognizable as they are passed along. Ever play the telephone game as a kid?  We see this in Reiki.

  8. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Kelly,
    We call it Chinese whispers, yes you see this so much in the system of Reiki, one teachers says something and the next minute it has becomes something very different. Funny how that works. This is why it is always so much better to go back to the roots, in this case, Usui Mikao.

  9. Avatar of Zeynep

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