Impermanence

Precious time is slipping away
But you’re only king for a day
It doesn’t matter to which God you pray
Precious time is slipping away

It doesn’t matter what route you take
Sooner or later the hearts going to break
No rhyme or reason, no master plan
No Nirvana, no promised land

Because, precious time is slipping away
You know you’re only king for a day
It doesn’t matter to which God you pray
Precious time is slipping away

(Van Morrison)

It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not

(Thich Nhat Hanh)

 

Leave out the soul for a moment.

What have you got?

A body.

Which exists.

Let’s not argue here about whether or not it exists. Maybe from a purely metaphysical point of view it could be argued it does not …but drop a big enough turnip on your toe, and yes, the body seems to exist. (Or, at least, a pain in the toe exists.)

 

And in this brief term of existence, from the moment we are born, there is only one thing certain. You may be rich, you may be poor, you may be clever, you may be an idiot, you may be good-looking and strong and tall and a brilliant dancer, or you may have a face only a mother could love, you may be talented, you may be useless..who knows what you may be. But only one thing for certain. As sure as it is born, the body dies. When, who knows? How, who knows? What happens then after the body dies, who knows? Pick any story. If it feels good, run with it. Do your thing.

 

From the time of zygotic fusion there is change. Impermanence. Flux. Cleavage. Division. Movement. Adaptation. One becomes two, becomes four, becomes eight.

 

From that moment what is conceived is moving ever closer to non-existence, to transience.

This is not a cause of suffering.

 

Grasping at permanence is the cause of suffering. It is the impossible grasping for the ‘’is-ness’’ to stay as it is, that causes suffering.

 

“Everything flows and nothing abides,
 everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.”

~ Heraclitus

Buddhists have a different definition of transmigration of the soul than do the yogis, or anyone else for that matter. I sometimes think the druidic notion is closer to the Buddhist. It is an interesting one. There is not a jiva, or individual soul that migrates. If anything migrates, and to many Buddhists there is nothing at all that migrates, because there is no fixed self (doctrine of annatta ~ all is  empty ~shoonyata), but if anything migrates,  it is an impression, or stream of consciousness, or accretion of possibility and imprints which is one contributory factor to the existence of the next stream of consciousness in a new body, rather than the transmigration of an individual eternal soul. This is my understanding of it anyhow, and i’m open to correction…As far as I understand there is no ‘’mineness’’ in Buddhism that makes a self we can identify as having been this or that in previous lives.

The human body, like lightning, appears and departs, 
As tree grow in Spring and droop in Fall. 
Despite its growth or ruin, we should be not alarmed, 
Considered dewdrops on tips of grass as they are all.

(Zen Master Van Hanh)

If we go to science and physics (with its idea that matter cannot be destroyed, it merely changes) here we have impermanence of any given form. The Mountain wears away to sand. A sun is birthed, blazes, consumes itself and goes supernova. Over aeons, even the elementary building blocks dissolve into radiation and thus change. So too for us mere creatures.  Our opinions and emotions and thoughts change, and if they don’t, perhaps we have stagnated, for they should. Love and hate change. Attraction and rejection and mood change.  Our cells, are mostly changed over the course of several years. Our bodies are in a constant state of flux. Brahma breathes out and breathes in………..

What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”
~ Crowfoot, 1890

 

Beyond the histories of the mortal body, we have stories we have told each other for millennia to promote the immortal soul. That which will transcend impermanence and live on.

But what if there is no salvation.

No heaven.

No enlightenment.

No reward.

No path.

No ‘get out of jail’ card.

No permanence.

What if as close to transcendence as we can get is to behold with absolute consciousness that micro-space between the past and the future, that electric leap between two impermanences, the ever-present NOW. This eternal becoming. Nothing more. No nirvana.  No bliss. Just this.

 

 

There are said to be two ways to enlightenment…..constant awareness of God, or constant awareness of Death (Impermanence). Perhaps they are the same.

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. 
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
 rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.”
~ Guatama Buddha

 

 

There is a story an old man told me once about why we started writing, us human creatures. He was vague about the details, because he was old and his memory was dissolving, but he gave me the gist of it. A long time ago there lived a sage. By dint of an accident he was left with a hole in his head. Because of this hole, all the knowledge of the ages kept flowing in, so that in every given moment he knew every story, every wisdom we have accrued as a species, and this knowingness was driving him demented. All the stories, all the philosophies thrashed about in his head, unceasingly. Finally he began to write, the first one to do so. He wrote, as we all do, to appease and assuage the pain of the knowingness that bears down upon us. It gives us relief from  that constant flow in through the hole in our head. Now, isn’t that a nice story… 🙂

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About

Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Oddities, Uncategorized

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''I am all pervasive. I am without any attributes, and without any form. I have neither attachment to the world, nor to liberation. I have no wishes for anything because I am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.''
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