“Everything flows, and nothing abides,
everything gives way, and nothing stays fixed.”
It is easy to be confused in this day an age, when ironically we seem to be so well informed, perhaps an overload of information, and the inability to process this deluge of bits, or bytes in our daily life, our lack of Wisdom, that in any case it is not related to the amount of information we can handle, but to what we could do with it.
The whole of Life it is an attempt in our part of searching for the Real, in a literal, and a symbolic way, this may be for our lack of any Ontological Reality, but our need for this Reality that reflects in our search for it, we crave the Real and it reflect in all we do or aspire to, if for example you see an image of food, and you become hungry, you will not be satisfied with more images, you will search for real food to eat, if you are looking for love, I can’t talk for everybody but I suspect most of you also look for real love, and very likely you will not be happy with a virtual version of love, or an untruthful lover!
The symbolic images in our mind, and heart switch in to the search for the real, as soon as our concupiscence is aroused, since we crave for the value, properties, qualities, and attributes of the Real, because without it, we would lack the fulfillment, and satisfaction to our cravings, desires or aspirations, this be momentary like satiating our thirst, or desiring a real diamond rather than an imitation, a particular brand of a product rather than another one, as well as our search for higher aspirations, like love, wealth, happiness, and Truth.
Philosophers, and Religious leaders through the Ages have pondered the why of our need for the Real, for those of you not familiar with Ontological issues, and believe me few people are. The search for the Real has at it’s root our own lack of Existence, since our existence is just temporary, this is known as the Impermanence of life.
“If the self is nothing but the image of both spirit and body, so also the universe is nothing but the image of both Absolute Reality and sheer nothingness. The world and the soul are neither fully real nor fully unreal, neither existent nor nonexistent, neither known nor unknown. Both shimmer endlessly between light and darkness.
Everything other than the Essence of the Real undergoes transmutation, speedy and slow. Everything other than the Essence of the Real is intervening image and vanishing shadow. No created thing remains upon a single state in this world, in the hereafter, and in what is between the two, neither spirit, nor soul, nor anything other than God-I mean the Essence of God. Rather, it undergoes continual change from form to form constantly and forever. And imagination is nothing but this. … The universe has become manifest only in imagination. It is imagined in itself. It is, and it is not.”
So our search of the Real, in it’s many different facets, and dimensions, it is what Life it is all about, the discovery of Self, the only Existent, pure Non-delimited Being, or what in religious terms we name God.
A Sufi phrase used frequently says: God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal, and awakens in man.
Buddhist have the three marks of Existence shared by all conditioned things:
Anitya. This is the transitory state of every conditioned thing.
2-Suffering, or lack of Satisfaction.
Duhkha. This can be stated in many ways, relating to the first mark Impermanence, and the third Non-Self, as well, the lack of Ontological Reality of the subject of desire, and the one who desire (ego) render unsatisfactory anything Impermanent, therefore the whole of the products of impermanent things.
Or Anatman. Temporal phenomena lacks Real Existence.
The understanding, and furthermore, the Realizations of this, as the Nature of the World is the essence of Buddhist teachings. Monotheist Religions also teach the Impermanence of life like in Ecclesiastes 2, or Mathew 6: 19-21
19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Here are some thoughts on Impermanence:
“Come on sweetheart,
let’s adore one another,
before there is no more
of you and me!”
“This existence of ours is as transient as Autumn clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings it is like looking
at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like the flash of a lightning in the sky,
rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.”
“Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!”
“All external splendor will perish,
Likewise the body will decay.
Only the superior Dharma will endure.
The wise should discern clearly.
Aging, illness, and death are resented by all;
Their appearance is dreadful and repulsive.
The countenance of youth is fleeting,
Soon it will wither and fade;
Even living to a hundred years, still
One must give in to the force of impermanence.
The suffering of aging, illness, and death
Constantly afflicts all sentient beings.”
Sutra on Impermanence
The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.
So how we deal with impermanence, in a society that denies impermanence, but paradoxically at the same time its based on the notion of:
“The road movie, the road trip, displacement. . . . Because this is the construction of U.S. identity. You’re constructed by leaving behind your past in order to construct your future.”
Of course different societies deal with the problem of impermanence in different ways, some countries they even celebrate the ultimate sign of impermanence, death itself, like in Mexico with the Traditional and now well known around the world “Dia de los Muertos” Day of the Death. When Mexicans go to visit their death at the graveyard, and spent the day, and night of mourning rather in a joyful, and party mood at the graveyard!.
Impermanence it is deal in many fashions, even forgetting about it, after all the business of living can’t go on if we are stuck in the past, right? Unfortunately some of us forget so much, we are brought in to shock, and tremendous upheaval when suddenly confronted by it. Maybe we should have also a National day of impermanence, not to celebrate death, but to realize our transitory life, this be not necessarily the ultimate travel to the beyond, but the Nature of Existence itself, that is change.
So the Nature of life is to suffer change.
When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much.
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it’s pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.