Usually when I think of a person as a transient, I am thinking of a homeless person. But today I see that I am just as much a transient. It would appear that I have a home, but is in fact not mine. Not only does the bank actually own the house, but there is no way that this structure, or my living in it, is permanent. Yet I see what a strong attachment I have to this place that I call home. With a sense of roots and security I take solace in thinking that this is one thing in my life which is permanent. How delusional, isn’t it!
The farther along I get in my practice, the more I see how these attachments are truly the cause of so much suffering. Whether it’s a car, a motorcycle, or your house, all are impermanent. And the stronger our attachment to anything, the greater that we ultimately suffer because of them. Losing your favorite pair of socks may only cause a little unhappiness, but losing your house in a foreclosure or fire would likely seem devastating to most of us. The greater the attachment, the more powerful we feel the loss due to our strong feelings of attachment and permanence. But the reality is, none of them are permanent. Heck, we are not permanent!
Today, like most days, I witness the transience even in the passing moments of my thoughts. Words that are spoken or unspoken can easily lead to stories, which support expectations, desires, attachments and very powerful aversions. And as they rise quickly like a tsunami in our mind, they just as quickly vanish into thin air. Of course we always have the option of clinging to these disturbing emotions, and lengthening the duration of our discomfort. But if we observe the transient nature of these, we can allow them to pass quickly and become available for the new moment before us. Which is actually the beauty of impermanence and transience. By coming back to the present, we turn that frown upside down.
Every situation, thought or emotion, can be an opportunity to let go of the delusions which bind us. Less becomes more freedom, and the weight of clinging and desire is lifted. Perhaps even seeing that the things you lost actually opened up the ability to be of benefit to yourself and others in a more powerful way. In which case, there is actually no loss at all. And this is really the teaching of dana, to let go of our attachments and be of benefit to others without expectation. This is liberation in its purest form. And when done with an open and compassionate heart, we can see that this too is transient.
This is my transient life.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.