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doesn’t anything last?

Once again I realize that nothing (repeat: nothing) lasts. Neither a momentary sensation, nor any feeling, thought, sight — and certainly not a life. Everything is in constant flux, revolving, unfolding, disappearing, and emerging. How easy it is to forget (refuse to remember?) such basics. Duh!!

Why, for example, would I get depressed; feeling as if there’s no purpose or hope, that life has lost meaning, that there’s no reason for getting out of bed, that nothing could possible make me laugh again. And then, a few hours later or the next morning, everything’s changed. I look out the same window as I did yesterday, see the same houses across the street, the same kids walking to school, the same flag flapping in the wind — yet there’s no weight on my heart. I see what’s there and attach nothing to it. No sadness, no despair, no disappointment. No good or bad. Simply thusness as Buddhist teachers name that which defies naming. The best I can figure right now is that my ‘small self’ desires order, wants something firm to hold on to. A delusion, apparently.

Shakyamuni Buddha once asked his disciples “How long is a human life?” As none of them could find the correct answer, he explained that “Life is but a breath.”

image credit: Gene Kelly, poster, source unknown.


6 responses »

  1. I often wonder this same thing… sometimes it isn’t even a day but a matter of hours and my perspective has changes with little else having changed at all. Terrill

  2. weird don’t you think… that we think everything will last forever – yet around me lies the garden in disarray, moldering plants, leaves slimy and brown. the sky hovers dark and ominours and then clouds break and the silver glint of light shines off the water in the marsh and i gasp in amazement. so like my mood, yucky one moment, entranced the next. how to be the witness and marvel rather than the participant and agonize one moment and rejoice the next? every breath a new beginning – i remind myself more often!

  3. what a timely post for me! having suffered with depression I know the lows and highs of mood. Yesterday I had ‘one of those days’ where I felt inadequate, anxious, not good enough. Sitting for an hour last night was a gift as it allowed me to let go of those feelings and just be awake to the present (remember the wind howling…music to my ears!). This morning I woke up…do I feel different? yes. Is it still lingering? yes. So, a reminder of how every moment chainges is valuable right now for I do not want to simply endure the anquish, but acknowledge it and let it go and be in this moment and then the next and then the next. Thanks for the post.

  4. It’s so weird how each day you can view things differently based on your mood. Sometimes I wake up thinking everything’s fine, and other times I regret everything I’ve ever done. Nothing has changed other than my view of things.

  5. Ah Peter,

    If only I could remember this when I’m beside myself with pain. Or anger. Or jealousy. Or ….

    But I don’t.

    And that makes me what … ?
    A failure?
    Just is?

    How I love that non-word, Thusness.
    I seem to remember the Dalai Lama saying he looks for words/non-words that carry no obvious baggage. So he invents words.
    Shakespeare had that knack as I recall.

    And what is this nothing, this No Thing.
    Does it last?
    Or is it beyond IS?

    • a human failure, malcolm? hardly. imperfect in a critic’s eyes, yet perfect in the lover’s.

      as to thusness, it comes to us from the Pali/Sanskrit Tathata, this according to Dr Google. Also translated as “suchness” … a central concept in Buddhism, especially in Zen.

      Since I know you as a keen philologist/linguist, you might like to know that the German word for tathata is a similar “non word,” namely Soheit or Solchheit.


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