Impermanence

March 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm (Uncategorized)

I start work tomorrow! Very excited to get down to business. One last day of not working, though, so here’s something that struck a chord recently.

This photo was the top post on Reddit for a while last night, and I really loved it.

Image

 

I guess somebody found an overgrown cemetery in the woods took this rather poignant picture. Honestly, though, what do we fear more than being totally forgotten? People are such social creatures that it is very hard to conceive of being gone in every sense (except perhaps your bones in the ground–but those will be gone at some point as well). We want to believe that we’ll live forever, or be famous, or be remembered, but the fate of almost every person on this planet is to eventually be a nothing.

Not totally nothing, perhaps, because the things we do will have ripple effects outward into eternity–but at some point they cease to be notable. Which brings me to impermanence, anatta, and the idea of non-self. If one is trying to get rid of the ego–the source of unhappiness, desire, greed, etc, then a big part of the process is coming to terms with the fact that this grave will be you one day, that you are just a piece of the cosmic whole and there is nothing eternal or lasting about you. I think that is why the idea of a soul is so prevalent–it’s very comforting. Who doesn’t want to last forever on some level?

To my mind, though, there is no real proof for the existence of anything permanent about us. How I wish there were! I would rather try to figure out the truth, though, than blindly cling to the improbable. I’m open to the my mind being changed, but based on the current evidence my soul seems to be a figment of my imagination. No, I am made of stardust and chemicals and electricity, and eventually my batteries will run out and I will go back into the cycle of everything. People like to call it Lion King-esque sometimes when I tell them.

I don’t think that this necessarily precludes the idea of a God, just one as we profess to understand. Maybe God is dead, because they could not live together, even if they made us. Everything has its season, its beauty, and then it ends. And although that offends the ego on many levels to my mind it is beautiful. We are all streaking comets. Brief and glorious. At the end of the day wanting more than that is just being greedy. Enjoy what time you have, do the best you can do, and when it is time to go, go. I don’t want to die, but it’s going to happen and I will be over. Eventually I will exit the memories of those I knew and loved, and the universe will go on. And that’s OK.

 

Embrace the emptiness and live in the moment. I am a work in progress–but I think I will always be.

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