Don't we all want some sort of permanence? We might seek it in a relationship, in love, in possessions, a house, a car, a hobby, a career, and so on. But don't we all want something to last? It might be a friend, a person in love, and the thought of that relationship one day perishing can be devastating. After all, we have all seen or experienced this. The death of a loved one, of a pet, a sudden disaster that ended everything we cling to. Such changes are so common in life, as it might be a basic law of life, that we developed tremendously complex methods to prevent change. Our buildings resist wind, fire, water, and stand almost completely still in the cities. Our looks also. We have hair gel, makeup, and all kinds of tricks to make our appearance permanent throughout the day. Sights are fleeting, so we take photographs. Sounds are fleeting, so we record music. Beauty is fleeting so we immortalize it through sculpture, painting, literature, poems, and so on.
In our personal relationships also, we seek permanency. We want a relationship to last, because we might depend on the other, we can derive comfort, security from the other. So we develop laws, morality, and many excuses to stay together until we die. And when the other changes, as we all do, they might want to end the relationship, they might want to change their environment, the people they are with and so on.
Is there permanency? We all want permanency, but is permanency a reality, or an illusion? If it is an illusion, then most of our daily activities are according to an illusion. We desperately hold on to a job, a person, an idea, an image about myself, but we might be holding nothing but ashes.
If one is sensitive, and not escaping from this question of permanency, then one discovers that everything is in constant flux. The scientists tell us that the cells in our body die and are reborn every day. We breathe. Our hearts beat. The blood flows like the rivers. Our thoughts are constantly flowing as well. One moment I might be depressed, and the other I am happy. Our emotions, sensations, if we are at all aware of them, are constantly changing. And when we look out to the world, buildings are built and destroyed. Cars and houses are bought and sold. The constant traffic, chattering of the crowd. The eternally busy work being done in offices. People gather and depart. These are all facts.
And when one steps outside the city, as one rarely does nowadays, change is there, more pronounced. The squirrels hiding their food. The birds fighting each other in the sky. The wind moves the leaves, and the leaves fall to earth, then eventually becomes a part of earth. The river flows to the ocean, and the ocean becomes clouds, then rains fall down to earth. Grasses grow and are eaten by cows. The sun rises and the moon rises. The stars, an absolute wonder so rarely seen in the city, moves and quivers in the heavens. If one is at all aware of all this, and aware of the fact that we all come from nature, are part of nature, then there is no such thing as permanency.
I think, underlying all this seeking of permanency, is also the fear of death. We are all aware somewhat that we one day die. We are aware of our utter short lives, our fragile bodies which cannot withstand many diseases, injuries, and natural disasters. Out of this fear of death, we have developed techniques to prolong, the continue our life. Yet this fear always lingers, because we forever cling to life. Life in the sense, our own pursuits, our own securities and comfort, our self-centered activities, our Gods and saviors, our illusions and stories. But in the immensity of life, which isn't yours or mine, which is also in the trees, in the beggar, in the office worker, the highest executive, the foreigner, the grass, the waters, the deep blue sky with voluminous clouds, in all this immensity, life is forever changing.
So, any seeking of permanency only results in suffering, despair, disappointment, because nothing is permanent. In this illusion we have lived for million years. We have built pyramids, dams, palaces, tombs. We have taken gold trinkets and silver coins, porcelain and intricately woven fabrics to our graves. We have argued, fought war, made allies, bombed, killed, constructed, built, in the hope that something might last, might continue. But time again we are faced with honesty from nature, the perpetual flux have changed everything within, and we stand here, today, with incredible advancement in technologies and vast accumulation of knowledge, deceived by this simple illusion.
Do we realize that? That any hope at continuing, prolonging only results in despair? Are we willing to face this simple fact, that nothing is permanent. When we do, then death isn't far away. Death is now. As is life. In the ending is the beginning. The ending and beginning are indivisible. We have only began, and continued, and never ended. We are unwilling to end anything pleasant, enjoyable, and in the holding of them, we create misery, confusion, conflict, and pain. Are we willing to be serious about life, and therefore be attentive, be aware of its immensity, step outside our little areas of security and comfort? Are we willing to die, die in the sense ending something inwardly, ending our attachments, ending our hold on a house, a car, a person, an idea, and then live? To live in this way, I think, is beauty.