Hello my fellow human Beings:
We all know about the Law of Impermanence – that everything changes – at least on an intellectual level. But have we grasped it at the core of our hearts?
We can test our response to this question by how we react when something close to our hearts changes.
For some it may be the reactions of clinging or craving when they lose a prized possession or a loved one.
For others, who may seem to have forsaken attachments to material possessions, it could be their reactions when they are confronted with new opinions, perspectives and behaviours of others. Feeling that “my way” or “my perspective” is better than another’s is really the ego rearing its ugly head.
Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth reminds us how the ego works, even for those who may have taken vows of poverty or renounced most worldly possessions. He writes:
“There are people who have bigger egos than some millionaires. If you take away one kind of identification, the ego will quickly find another. It ultimately doesn’t mind what it identifies with as long as it has an identity. … In other words, the content of the ego may change; the mind structure that keeps it alive does not.”
I have found myself struggling with the ego rising within in me as my life circumstances have changed over the last few months – a new job, new family structures, and many new people in my life. Trying to not be attached to “my things” and “my ways” can be a struggle, especially as we get older and perhaps a little more set in our habits and manner of thinking.
Feeling proud that I successfully managed Change A, I soon get blind-sided with Change B.
More change? Why more change? Why won’t things just stay the same?
As we struggle with the ever-changing world around us, we can take comfort in knowing that our joy of Being is always there, if we just let go of the ego’s reactions of craving and aversion to the changes in our lives.
Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth quotes and interprets a sentence from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount about this joy of Being. He writes:
“’Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ Jesus said, ‘for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 5:3 NRSV)
What does ‘poor in spirit’ mean? No inner baggage, no identification. Not with things, nor with mental concepts that have a sense of self in them. And what is the ‘kingdom of heaven’? The simple but profound joy of Being that is there when you let go of identifications and so become ‘poor in spirit’.”
So there is hope to keep persevering to develop our non-attachment to things and mental concepts. By using our meditation practice to help us let go of the ego’s grasp on physical and mental possessions, we take steps toward relieving our suffering and reaching the kingdom of heaven within.
What better time than the autumn season to give us gentle, natural reminders of the beauty that change can reveal.
In the book, Zen Poems¸ edited by Manu Bazzano, in the introduction to the poems in the autumn section, he writes:
“No other season reminds us as acutely of impermanence as autumn. No matter how far removed we might be from the natural world, the sight of a fallen leaf reminds us that nothing lasts for long. Everything that is born is subject to decay. And still, the fall is alight with a mysterious glow. … Autumn invites reflection and forbearance but can also tickle our sober mood by presenting us with a dazzling display of sunshine and warmth.”
So this week, I invite you to pause, breathe, be still and reflect on the changes in nature and in your surrounding world. Take a walk through the falling autumn leaves. Pick one up and admire its colours. Turn your gaze towards the tree it came from.
Breathe in the breath of life.
Breathe out and let go.
Connect to the joy of Being within you knowing that in this way you are walking on the path towards the kingdom of heaven and living an abundant life!