When There Is A Loss
(From The Constant Companion by Eknath Easwaran)
I can understand why children and teenagers find it difficult to grasp the transience of life. They live as if things would always be the same and tomorrow would never come. After you have lived through thirty or forty years of life, however, you begin to notice how many people you once knew have passed on. Almost regularly now I get a letter saying that another of my former classmates or my childhood friend is gone.
Most of us do not want to notice this, but after the first volume of our life is closed, it is necessary to notice and reflect, and then to make changes to focus the remainder of our lives. "Time," says Marcus Aurelius, "is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current. No sooner is a thing brought into sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away." And he adds, almost in the language of the Buddha: "The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it."
We cannot put our trust in any changing relationship between bodies, or even in a relationship based on sympathy of mind or intellect. All these shift continuously. The only relationship that is permanent is the relationship between the Self in you and the same Self in others-the spiritual relationship in which we forget ourselves in living for the welfare of all.
In discovering that relationship, we enter immortality here on earth. The body, which is physical, will die: nothing can alter that. But the self is not physical; it cannot die. When we know ourselves to be that Self, know it in the very depths of consciousness awake and asleep, then there is no break in awareness when the body is shed at death. Dying is no more than passing from one room to another.
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