gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This Too Will Change.

There are very few times in a person’s life that one can call perfect.  There are very few times in a person’s life when one cannot imagine changing a thing; that his or her life is as brilliant as one could ever hope for it to be.  Of course, this is not one of those times for me.  I just wanted to sound positive and upbeat.      
I’m not complaining, you understand.  These are pretty good days.  I would even go so far as to call these days well above average.  If, on a happiness scale in which ten is having won a lottery the day after getting engaged to your dream-partner and one is having recently bought your dream-home twenty kilometers from the Fukushima Nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan, with your last Yen, I’d say I’m at least a seven or eight.
Trying to hang onto anything even nearing perfection, however, might just be a frustrating endeavor and ultimately prove to be a rather spectacular mistake.  In this material world, in which the only constant is the inevitability of change, and taxes, one would either end up in need of strong medication or locked away in a dark room far from sharp implements or any belt to keep ones pants up. 
I won a minor lottery of sorts when my dad, bless him, left me some money and a box of Bran Buds.  As a matter of fact, I had also married a lovely lady not long before.  Inheritances, of course, come along with the loss of a loved one, but life goes on.  The funds have since eroded somewhat, but I won’t end up walking the streets with a shopping cart.  There are no Bran Buds in India, but I’m digesting adequately, so far.  And my marriage was down-graded to ‘it’s complicated,’ but she remains a blessing in my life.  I cannot complain in spite of the changes.  The fact is that there are always changes. 
There’s an old story, which I heard from U. N. Goenka, my first Guru, about two very different brothers.  One was acquisitive and worldly.  The other had an innate tendency toward the ascetic life.  Upon the death of their father, the more materialistic brother received all the land, the buildings and most of the wealth while the other was given only a small cabin, a little money and a gold finger ring. 
Over the ensuing years, the wealthy brother had no end of worries and troubles while the other seemed to remain fairly content.  The wealthy brother eventually fell ill and, on his death-bed, asked his sibling how the heck he had remained content with so little.  The secret, the happy fellow disclosed, was their father’s gold finger ring.  It had the mantra; ‘THIS TOO WILL CHANGE’ inscribed on the inside.  And so, the fellow concluded, he always tried to keep that simple truth in mind.      
It behooves us all to not become overly attached to the good times.  They’re bound to change.  And it behooves us all to not get too upset by the bad times.  They’re also not going to last forever. 
Having narrated the story and made my point, I feel impelled, (to be distinguished from feeling impaled,) to add that I saw no reason why the rich guy couldn’t have had the mantra too, but I didn’t feel to mention it at the time.  Goenka could get a little cranky.  I also wondered if the poor but allegedly happy brother wasn’t being just a bit mean-spirited.  It rather sounded to me as though he was getting back at his rich but soon to be dead relation for grabbing all the good stuff.  If he was really so happy and contented, why did he have to rub his brother’s nose in it?  He could’ve simply said a few good words of solace, put a warm towel on the guy’s tortured brow, changed the bed-pan and left it at that.  But, I kept my thoughts to myself.          
The main thing here is that I’ve made a darned good point and, in the end, it remains for us all to sleep well in whatever bed we’ve made up for ourselves.   

1 comment :

  1. You write beautifully and clearly. Thank you for touching, this time, on something that I meditated on for months after my mom chose to exit whatever this life thing is.

    There are, indeed, brief times in our lives when we seem to have it all, then we get more grist for the mill, which I also view as having it all.

    A family crest and creed that I grew up with, perhaps better than "This too will change", which is a truism, was "Not too much". In moderation is good fortune, not only for ourselves but for our families and communities.

    Cheers to you and your thoughtful posts.