Sunday, February 11, 2024
Essence of change
The Creator has created for us a world of constant changes: everything is changing with every moment, remaining only with that very moment, and nothing remains permanent. It is through changes that we may transform ourselves into a better individual. Even in a difficult and challenging environment, we may learn from our mistakes and wrong choices in life, and so change ourselves. Change is transformation, which is educational and self-enlightening. Transformation is synonymous with impermanence, which is the essence of change.
Understanding that everything is impermanent is self-enlightening. Nothing is permanent: the good as well as the bad things that happen to us are impermanent; nothing lasts forever. We all are aware of this universal truth of impermanence. We all know that we cannot live to well beyond one hundred years, and yet we resist our aging process, continuously fixing our faces and bodies to make them look younger. We may have the face of a forty-year-old but the body and the mind of a seventy-year-old. We simply refuse to let go of the impermanence of all things; we desperately and self-delusively cling on to the “permanence” of all our attachments.
The illusion or self-delusion is that many of us wish the impermanent were the permanent. It is this wishful thinking that makes us unhappy. We were once healthy and now our health has declined, and we are unhappy. We were wronged by our enemies, and we still hold on to our old grudges, instead of forgiving and letting them go, and we are unhappy. Our past glories gave us the ego, which we refuse to let go of, and we become depressed and unhappy.
Life is about changes, and living is about letting go of what is impermanent that we naively believe and wish to be permanent.
Remember, nothing is permanent, and each and every moment remains only with that very moment. Therefore, live in the present, and live all your moments to their best and to the fullest as if everything is a miracle.
Impermanence and change are the undeniable and permanent truths of all human existence. What is real is the existing moment, the present moment that is a product of the past, or a result of the previous causes and actions. Due to ignorance, an ordinary mind may conceive them all to be part of one continuous reality. But the fact that they are not is the permanent truth.
The various stages in the life of a man, the childhood, the adulthood, the old age are not the same at any given time. The child is not the same when he grows up and becomes a young man, nor when the young man turns into an old man. The seed is not the tree, though it produces the tree, and the fruit is also not the tree, though it is a product of the tree. This is the permanent truth of all life.
Emptiness and nothingness
Death empties anything and everything—that is, the ego and all its attachments to the material world. Emptiness is nothingness in which everything becomes nothing.
For all human efforts, death will come in the end for all and sundry. This is an indisputable fact. No matter how long a life you may want to live, you will, like everyone else, face dying one day. This is the way of all flesh because you have a built-in mechanism in your genes to ensure your mortality.
Perspective of death
According to CNN news, Cathrin Ertmann, a celebrated photographer from
, chronicles the enigmatical journey of the deceased from death until burial. While keeping all her subjects’ identities anonymous, she diligently records all the different stages of death, including autopsies and cremations, in quiet detail. Denmark
Before she started photographing death, Cathrin Ertmann had never seen a dead body. Viewed through her lens while standing in a quiet morgue, it was, surprisingly, much less frightening and more of a quiet mystery for her to explore death and its implications.
“I was amazed about how peaceful and undramatic everything looked,” she said. “I got the chance to look at death without it being my own relatives, without feelings involved, and it gave me a peace. The imagination of what death looks like is way worse than what I experienced. . . . . .
I also saw a peace and beauty. Sometimes the scare is in the brief look at something. Like when you watch a horror movie, you only see a glimpse of the ghost, murderer or monster, and your imagination works all the fright up for you. I think I felt I need to see everything to make it ‘normal’ and undramatic. And I think it works the same way with our relation to death in general.”
A new study of death gave Cathrin Ertmann a new perspective on life. “After working in the morgue, I was walking in the street and I got really over-whelmed by seeing all the people just walking, chatting and laughing,” she said. “I wanted to yell: YOU ARE ALIVE, USE IT!"
Indeed, death is a leveler of all. We all have a life; so go out and live it as God has intended and planned for you.
You will have to work hard and sweat a lot to produce the food you eat.
You were made out of the ground. You will return to it when you die.
You are dust, and you will return to dust.
The news on death by Catherin Ertmann is very illuminating: it sheds light on how we should all view death—or rather life and death, which are always interrelated. Remember, life always begets death, and what goes up must also come down. This is the natural cycle of anything and everything in this world. Many people live without ever thinking of death or deliberately ignoring its existence, while others live but always with death on their minds—especially those elderly. That death is inevitable is an indisputable fact, but one need not anticipate it as if it is imminent, even if one is advanced in years. Nobody knows when death may descend. Just live your life as if there is no tomorrow, live in the now, and live as if everything is a miracle.
Remember, whether or not you would like to let go of your attachments in the material world, you came from dust, and dust you shall return to.
Remember your Creator
before you return to the dust you came from.
Remember him before your spirit goes back to God who gave it.
(Ecclesiastics 12: 7)
The bottom line: remember your Creator, or where you came from; everything is nothing in the end. So, why hold on to, and why not let go of, anything and everything that eventually will become nothing? Just let go to let God, who is in absolute control; anything and everything must return to Him as nothingness. Indeed, the wisdom of everything is nothing is the wisdom of letting go to let God.
Death is emptiness, which brings an end to anything and everything in life. This emptiness, however, may have both positive and negative perspectives.
FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have "freedom" and not "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
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