Illustration by JAYMEE L. AMORES

Does anything really last?
A SPIRITED SOUL - Jeannie E. Javelosa (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2017 - 4:00pm

I came home from a trip with my mother lamenting how she had lost most of her cellphone’s content. As a senior citizen, she had limited knowledge of saving photos on the cloud online. She had photos, texts from friends and videos she would look at for her enjoyment.

I cannot blame her. I remember how, many years back, my computer collapsed with a complete text of a book that was going to press with a tight deadline. Stress and desperation were understatements of my loss then. Information, photos and videos are part of the currencies of our information-laden lives in an age driven by technology. We are addicted to our constant gathering of memorable images in our travels, of friends, and now, of moments. We attempt to capture and keep the fleetingness of life. Just check social media and the fast-fleeting life moves in just as quickly as the number of friends you have online.

One of my friends, who is trigger happy in taking photos and posting them, says she likes to do this so when she is old, she can look at them and reminisce and remember the joys of the moment. How true. Perhaps this is why my mother was so disappointed when she lost her photos and videos. The past, especially the joyful past, is a comfortable space to stay in. This is a very human trait of ours to try to keep the constancy of life, and remember the best times of the past and how we wish it can last forever.

I think it is only those who know how fragile life is are those who know how precious it is, too. And that we should take life seriously. I mean, we can actually stop breathing anytime. Or not wake up tomorrow. I make it a practice to really still myself in the morning and say, what if this would be my last day? My intention is to bring as much awareness, gratitude, love and being-ness in my day-to-day activities. I am not too successful, this I can tell you. Within a couple of hours, I would have fallen into the day-to-day details that drive us at work and home. Or my impatience would have gotten the better of me. Or countless other self-doubts and judgments come through my mind.

Taking life seriously means striking a balance to continue our nine-to-five existence, with a view at the deeper meaning of life. It is to try to find that middle way so we don’t overstretch with meaningless activities that drain our energies and spirits; or stay on with people who suck our energies or don’t make us grow. It is to simplify our directions so we can find a clearer purpose and on this, put our efforts to make it come forth.

Our attachment to things, people, memories even, which connect us to this world should be looked at in a balanced perspective. Too much attachment and clinging will make us suffer. And inevitably, the real truth is what we face: that impermanence is the one thing that results from change, which is the constant. Impermanence is what makes us reflect on the fleetingness of everything, and inevitably, the next question…what do we leave behind? What is that which we pursue in this life that gives our lives meaning, and likewise, may mean something to another? Impermanence does this. Our oh-so-complicated world today forces on us a lesson: to see that all these negative, crazy, mad things happening will soon, too, pass. These dictators and leaders with egos, these madmen devoid of any compassion blinded by their actions of war, greed, power and controls. They, too, will pass. Turmoils, tragedy, destruction, leaders who will fall and new ones rise. This too shall pass — but at what price? I believe it will be that of awakening…to realize that nothing is permanent and constant — nothing. Not even this physical body that we pamper so, not the money we hoard in the bank, or that job title that we aspire and work for. The body will age or get sick, that bank institution collapse and the job title, well, is a mere title with perks and tons of stress. The change that is constant will force us in our pain, to look for alternatives. And perhaps stop in the moment to re-assess the preciousness of each moment, each relationship we have, our own personal journeys we are taking on. And maybe we will be more mindful of our Instagram photos, the quality of our relationships, the impact of the work we do on ourselves and the world. Enjoying the impermanence of life is about the middle ground balance of a life simplified, mindfully attuned to each moment.

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