August 23, 2010

Life is a wave: surf it elegantly, or cling to flotsam?

Change is the only constant.

Nothing stays the same. Nothing lasts. Nothing is guaranteed.

The world—by which I mean the body; mind; emotions; senses; desires; atmosphere; season; environment; climate; people; economy; society; the family; the earth—the whole world—is constantly changing.

Change is very simply the nature of the world we live in. The universe is expanding, and we have learnt to think of ourselves as a static point within a changing world, but what is that static point really?

We are also changing all the time. Every cell in the body, right now, as you sit reading this, is either regenerating or decaying. No single cell, no single part of your body, will be the same now as it was when you began reading this sentence!

It’s almost as if we are riding on a wave of  change. Can you feel it?

There is a point of stillness—a static point within all the movement – but it’s not what most people think it is. It’s not the human being that we think we are, that we associate ourselves with, that’s constant.

It’s the awareness behind the human experience that remains unchanged, and untouched by the world.

This human life is a wave that we ride for a short while. The more we allow ourselves to be aware of that, the easier our lives become. Because whether we like it or not, the wave rises and falls. Whether we like it or not, the world around us changes, unpredictably, relentlessly, inevitably. How we accept that change; how we surrender to it; and how we learn to love it as part of the nature of this life, depends entirely on what we cling to.

We are each of us riding the wave of our life, in an ocean of unpredictable, inevitable change. Most of us cling to the belief that we are the body; or that we are the mind; that we are our work; or that we are our personality. If so, at some point that little ‘life-raft’ that we cling to will disintegrate, and we will be left all alone with the realization that the wave is all there is. Then, we either surrender and go with the flow, or we start looking desperately for something else to cling to!

Our suffering is the result of our clinging – and life brings us the perfect lessons that we need to stop clinging! I don’t know why, but it seems that life itself is a lesson in detachment. Sometimes it can seem very harsh, but that’s usually because there’s simply something we don’t want to let go of !

In the Bhagavad Gita, it is written: “Yoga is skill in action”. I believe that surfing elegantly over the wave of life, without attachment, without clinging, is skill in action; the ultimate yoga.

I’d love to know what you think.

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