For those on the East Coast, and affected by Hurricane Sandy, ebb and flow certainly has a very baneful meaning. But I also see the profound imagery that this term imbues in my every day life as well.
Seeing how the tides roll in, being washed-over with emotions, then receding back to a place of peace and tranquility.
Having become increasingly aware of this natural phenomenon, I am learning to be neither attracted or repulsed by either one. Both are transitory, uncontrollable and inevitable. And often, the realization of this is just enough to ease whatever discomfort is present in the moment. Anicca, impermanence in all things. Which also means that attempting to cling to the happy moments is equally unskillful or beneficial to our peace and practice.
I am always reminded of the Beatles song “Let it be”. I find that to be some really great advice many times throughout the day. Thinking “I’m happy”, then let it be. Thinking “I’m frustrated or upset”, just let it be.
To put this into a perhaps more powerful context, let’s get back to thinking about the hurricane victims on the Eastern Seaboard. And if any of us had just lost our home and all of our possessions, could we say to ourselves “let it be”? Sitting by calmly and peacefully while watch our lives wash out to sea. Yet if our loved ones are safe, we may perhaps feel abundant joy and gratitude at the same time. Noticing the insignificance of material possessions in light of a greater reality.
When a disaster of epic proportions effects any of us in our lives, we often find clarity in what it is that is truly important and valuable. Yet most of us also return to our ignorant & delusional ways once life has returned to what we might call “normal”. And this is where we can all garner some wisdom. By observing that this ebb and flow takes place, to one degree or another, multiple times throughout each and every day.
Life is truly so very short and extremely precious. It’s a gift that none of us should take for granted, nor should we assume that we have more to enjoy. This moment, right here and now, is the only one you have. Don’t try to reach for what is in front of you, or drag that which is behind you. Be present, be alive, and be grateful. Then just let it be.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.