Metaphorically speaking, I think that at our highest level, we each can only hope to become good human compost one day. How we live our lives, the words we speak and our actions, will all be gone once we die. However, these words and actions will go on for generations in either destructive or beneficial ways. One such prime example is in how we raise our children. If raised without dogma, prejudice, and anger, then they too will likely raise their children with love and compassion. The reserve is also true, in that raised with hostility and discrimination, they will likely pass this on to future generations. Which is to say nothing of the ripple effects in our own lives while we are here on earth.
We truly are like a fruit that has a time to ripen and become sweeter and more nutritious. But without question, we all decay and die. This is the inescapable truth of all living things. Yet many of us simply revel in the prime of our lives when we feel ripe and sweet. High energy and youthful appearance are an attractive delusion, and one that we easily cling to because we think it will last.
I am fully aware that everyone that I know would say that they understand impermanence. But my observations and experience have taught me that this too is highly delusional. In part because we cannot imagine the future and any attempt to do so is just another delusion. We have to live fully in the present if we have any chance of gaining enlightenment.
Like tending to our garden, we must tend to our mind. Without proper care and nourishment it can never thrive. In this sense, our minds are also subject at all times to disease and infestation of destructive pests. And any of us who have ever gardened, we know that this is no easy task. It requires constant vigilance and also acceptance of what comes. It does no good thing be angry with the bugs that eat your tomatoes. They are merely living their lives and being who they are. And in this same way, we can learn from this analogy and apply it to our friends, neighbors, family and even strangers. After all, we do not ne d to know the bug intimately to understand that they are just being a bug. They did not wake up in the morning with any intention to harm you or take anything from you.
The other lesson that these things can teach us about is that nothing is truly ours. And clinging to the fruit is no different from clinging to the idea of self. The moment we claim the fruit, a friend, a temple as ours, we begin again the circle of suffering that is samsara.
We come and we go, but we have a tremendous opportunity to live as compassionately and lovingly as possible while we are here right now. And with complete awareness that each and every word and action will ultimately be the compost that we will soon become. Namaste.