Nothing Remains the Same

Buddha says, “All conditioned things are impermanent’ — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.” The Buddha.

“Nothing is permanent except change.” The Buddha.

Judaism and Buddhism:

“The origin of man is dust, his end is dust. He earns his bread by exertion and is like a broken shard, like dry grass, a withered flower, like a passing shadow and a vanishing cloud, like a breeze that blows away and dust that scatters, like a dream that flies away.”

“The impermanence and the changing nature of everything in this world are one of the few constants in life, and it’s a truth you repeatedly internalize through meditation. “

Earlier this week, I had a conversation today with a group of people close to my age. My age is now 80 years old. What we talked about is the fact that everything has transformed. The United States is unrecognizable from when we were children. We played with other children in groups, and it was safe for us to be outside. Today, children play electronic and computer games in their houses. They are electronically connected to other youngsters without seeing each other or being in a group.

 Our neighborhoods have changed. There needs to be a sense of community in our neighborhoods, but it does not exist. So many families live in isolation from other families because people move, and they come and go. Families also live in different parts of the country. At one time, the extended family lived close to one another. Now family members live far from each other, and the nuclear family composed of mom, dad, and children has been dissolved by single-parent families or by multiple divorces and remarriages. 

The world is nothing like it used to be. The United States was the most powerful nation in the world. Now we are challenged by Russia and China, who have very different political systems and no regard for individual rights. We came from urban neighborhoods with low to middle-income families. They are now populated by families that are poverty-stricken or low-income. These Socioeconomic changes have made the old neighborhoods seem unrecognizable. 

Yes, change happens. We grow up, marry, and have children. We raise them and take them through adolescence until they go to work or college. Either way, they move out of the home.

A sense of isolation develops for many as we grow older and as our children grow older. My daughters remind me they are now 50 years old. Their birthdays are in June, and they’ll turn 50 in June. They are twins. So they still like to think of themselves as 49 until their birthdays in June. Their dad is now 80 years old. 

One of my daughters was shocked when a notice from school reminded her to prepare for my grandson entering High School in September. She was astonished even though she was well aware of High School. And I reminded her that life comprises constant change. My daughter could not get over that. As she said, it’s weird. 

It’s a different world in which I feel a lot less comfortable. I was raised in New York City. My wife and I moved to Colorado after our daughters went to school and stayed here in Colorado. While I have friends in New York, 

I live in Colorado. Sadly, my wife passed away, and has been gone for seven years. I, too, will pass on, which is part of life. Everything changes, and there is nothing we can do about it. It reminds me of the excellent book written by Ernest Becker called the denial of death. We try to deny the existence of death, but it is the ultimate change brought about by the progression of time. The aging process itself is an example of how things change.


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