Nothing Lasts: Impermanence in Life
We often hear or read or are taught by the books, teachers, friends, elders to question everything around you and within you. They often told that being curious is the hallmark of the knowledgeable and the wise. And for many reasons, it is the way forward to understand the world around and within.
Let’s go one layer further down this advice to ‘Question everything’. Will the behaviour of questioning, really take you a long way forward in every situation of your life? Is it a universal fact that questioning things will always benefit you? Take example of Tsunami. Can one question the ocean, why did its waters resulted in a Tsunami? The ocean is not bounded to answer you even if you question at all. There are number of such situations in life where questioning things might lead to further hurt and pain. That’s how our world is. It is full of contradictions that sometimes make life seem unfair to the point of frustration.
We know that the universe itself is full of contradictions and we can’t change the universe. The wise understand that it is only we who can change ourselves with the biggest power and tool we have with us…our free-will. In such contradictory universe, if you want to live a more content, less painful life, it is important for you to understand that nothing really lasts in this world. Impermanence is the only constant here. If you consider impermanence, it can be both- a relief or a cause of pain as a result of attachment. There is nothing in this cosmos that is forever.
Let’s say you have a pet. The pet will live let’s say for five years or ten years or twenty years and so on. When this pet has lived its life and finally dies (before you of course), you will feel sad and you grieve. But if you go over the limits and keep crying and wailing, eventually to the point of depression; you will end up letting this grief and depression eat you up slowly and finally slip in into the hands of death. While other perspective could be, when you are grieving for the pet, you can be thankful for your pet that it gave you joy by its presence. That it was there in your life. This sound so simple, yet it is difficult to grasp for most people when they are immersed in overwhelming emotions. Most people don’t know this limit. They hardly realise where the limit is. And the grief begin to grow fatal. Most people loose the remote control of their heart and brain to their emotions. It is bound to throw you out of balance in testing situations in life.
\The best way to ensure that the journey of life is both- beautiful and adventurous is to train yourself to have the remote control of your emotions in your hands. In fact, one should even prepare their kids, telling them early on to accept situations in life, to express their emotions but to a healthy level and not tip to the fatal levels of any emotion. To know the limits is to truly understand that nothing really lasts.
We have been talking about how we experience most emotional situations in life, that arise from the situations around us, from the outer world. It is all the more trickier to get the hang of most emotions that rise up from the subtle realm, from our inner world. Most of us are puppets in the hands of our emotions.
The truth is, more than living life, we live our emotions which we call as life. It is important to experience and live ever new kinds of emotions for a healthy brain and body. But sometimes, we get attached to an emotion so much that we let that emotion break all the boundaries and creep into our skin. It does everything to obstruct the sunshine of truth to dawn upon us and stop us to live a life full of light of wisdom.
Janvi was a highly skilled, professional woman in her mid-thirties. She managed a big marketing team in a multi-national marketing services company. She was known to be quick-witted and smart. With her reputation of gaining big-budget projects for the company, especially from U.S. region, eventually made her confident, that she can get any project in sales pipeline, into her kitty. Two quarters further into the business year, she was pitching to one of their potential European clients. It was one of the biggest names in the Europe travel industry. Everything was great until she forgot that how meticulous a German is even while planning their holidays. A German would plan his vacation right from when he would step out from the door to when he returns. The project that was long-term and with a fat budget, which the pre-sales team had been working on for weeks, went down the drain. Janvi wouldn’t have felt too bad if it was not for her boss. The boss felt very bad. This was supposed to be the crucial project to reach the target in the final quarter of the year and Janvi’s silly mistake of not thinking enough on as basic a thing as cultural and psychological differences between different continents upset him. The boss couldn’t control, neither he wanted to keep mum about it. He blew fire on Janvi in a group meeting (of course in a professional manner). Such anger management of his boss through Janvi bruised Janvi’s inflated ego. She didn’t take this well and the hurt kept digging in deeper. It was surprising for all that how could Janvi, such a fierce character, started looking a bit lost. Because such outbursts are quite normal in any marketing department of a services enterprise. Janvi’s performance dropped drastically. She lost her will power to procure more project for the team. Instead, she became the one with a long-face. No one knew that she consulted a psychologist, was on anti-depressants to sustain her through the daily demands of her job. What do you think happened to Janvi? It was her inflated ego that was suddenly pinned out and she couldn’t handle it. If only Janvi took her boss’ outburst normal, like many of her own outbursts, under KPI’s pressure, over her team and if she accepted that it was indeed immature mistake that she made. Not every day can be same. If only she understood a simple process that if there are days (most days) where she was the star because of her excellent business skills, there would be days when not everything is right and her boss is also a human being. He also has his pressures of his boss. Moreover, he has the right to pin-point the mistake.
One has to be conscious enough to remind oneself that not every day is same in life. If you are going through a very joyful phase today, there are bound to be times when not all things are in favour of your preferences in life. In those times, one must be patient, continue to do their karma, give their best, and remember that time is ever changing. And so the situation will also change. There will be people in your life, who will appreciate what you do and who you are. Though, often, their numbers will be far lesser than the ones who will stand against you as your challengers.
How do a Siddha think in different situations of life? What is their way of living? A Siddha accepts change. And so the Siddha, the one who has realised the truth, is free of dukkha. The human being who has attained the state of Siddhatva, accepts every situation in life as it is. If times are joyful, they would make merry same as they would go through tough times in life. A Siddha knows that situations constantly change. And with this very awareness the Siddha reap the benefits of being always hopeful.
One must take some inspiration from Siddhas’ outlook towards life. To enjoy all kinds of emotions, be it around joy or sorrow. This sounds simple. But if you really grasp the subtlety of it, you will gain strength even from the challenging times in your life.