Understanding Our Transient Nature
September 9th, 2007 · No Comments
Charles Dickens wrote “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
He was speaking on the duality of things happening around us. All that we have, we measure against that which we do not possess.
It is our nature to look at a glass half empty or half full. What would happen if we just looked at the glass regardless of its contents? We look at nature around us and see in front of us the tree so barren in winter. We wish it were filled with flowers or flush with green leaves, in the hopes we can make it change. We can not. The wise person accepts everything where it is, and for what it is. Not looking for change or making a judgment of either good or bad, positive or not, is the right step. Allowing things and people to be is a gift you give yourself.
Our lives are a process of light and dark, day and night, winter and spring, summer and fall. Each time passes into another. Nothing remains the same. This is what we acknowledge as a universal law. We can be sad over death and dying yet it is as natural as a blossom, once finished, falling to the ground. All things are transient: happiness and sadness.
We have to come to an understanding of our place in nature and the natural laws that govern all of us. We can live only in the present. We can not change the past and the future remains unfolded until it becomes today. We can acknowledge our transient nature by a comparison to all things found in nature. We are as much a part of each other as the air we share. What we share that is unique is our memory. When you remember a person, you recall his or her physical attributes and characteristics. That image is as alive as you are. But you do not stop there. You also have feelings associated with almost everyone and everything you store in your memory. It is the feelings that teach us of our connections and the fact that relationships like everything else are transient.
The uncontrollable element is time. Time brings us together and takes us back apart. Uncontrollable, meaning too strong to suppress, so what we can not suppress we acknowledge and allow to pass. We are the makers of our own kamma. Our minds are the masters of our thoughts. No one can purify us except ourselves. We are natural beings and can take much from nature. Think of the leaves of any tree. Fresh, they are born in the spring. Young and bright, some are plucked early before the finish of spring. Others live rich full lives filled with color, until leaving the tree to make their way to the earth. It is the same for us. We must celebrate life’s moments as we live them from our beginning to our passing.
So when Charles Dickens wrote “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” He was correct. Both times live side by side. What we can offer each other is comfort to those who need comfort. Share our joy with those who have none, offer security to those who are afraid. Help those who are in need, and learn to love each other as we love ourselves.
So my prayer and hope for you is this:
“May all of you have happiness in your lives, may all your days have joy, and may your many blessings carry you through the difficult times that we all share. May you grant each other peace, and finally may you always know that the purest form of love comes from the self, and it is that which becomes the blessing you share with us all.”
I Wish You Peace,
Bhante n. Kassapa Bhikkhu
Buu Mon Temple
Port Arthur, Texas, 77640