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Friday, June 6, 2014

Life offers no control; just impermanence and change!

Learn to live with Life’s uncertainties. Because Life's like that!

Understand that everything that you call your own, will perish or cease to be yours someday soon. Know that your iPhone, this facebook account, your health, your relationships, your job, your bank balance, your health and your Life, all are, every one of them is, impermanent. You know this is true, of course, don't you? But you conveniently ignore this truth because it's comfortable to live imagining that what is yours is yours forever. Because to worry about things withering away, people passing away and you moving on, is uncomfortable, fearful and therefore, avoidable. But to kid yourself that Life is permanent and you will have lot more time to live in the future than in the now, is outright foolish. Since you consider yourself intelligent, since you know that both Life and Money are impermanent, wake up, and start living.

Here’s a simple Zen story that makes the point. There once was a young man who wanted to face “real” Life. So he left home and travelled to seek the real world. During his travels he reached a village and met a young family, where the wife was pregnant and the husband was hard-working. They welcomed him and invited him to stay with them. He was there for just one day and night.  During that time, the husband suddenly died and his wife mourned so much that it affected her pregnancy and she gave birth prematurely. The young traveler saw death and birth in quick succession and at close quarters. He saw the impermanence of Life that caused both grief and happiness. The wife grieved at the loss of her beloved husband and yet was happy to have a baby. He helped that family with the funeral service and then continued his travels.

He arrived at another village. Here he knew two brothers: one was successful in business and the other was not. He smiled at Life and moved on to another village. A year went by and he returned to the same village and met the same two brothers. Then he discovered that the one who was successful had failed and the one who had not been successful was now doing well in his business. He saw how change happens in Life; how success and failure had brought both fulfilment and disappointment.

Time passed by.  After he had travelled for many years he realized that he was getting old. He had learned that Life offered no control, but only impermanence and a series of changes. He had witnessed that youth changed to old age, past to present and the present to the future. Impermanence means that there is no guarantee that there would be a tomorrow.  The here and now is the only time which everyone has. It took a lifetime for this man to understand Life as it was. At the end of his Life, he rested in peace and happiness.

Do we need to spend a lifetime trying to understand this simple truth about Life? Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic philosopher, (535~475 BC), said, “Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.” So, embrace this uncertainty, flow with Life, knowing that when you get called, you too will have to go away!

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