Impermanence and Value

For a long while I was resistant to many of the ideas of Buddhism such as non-attachment and suffering. It struck me that this was one miserable philosophy of life always focussing on suffering. Then one day I had a Tango moment. I saw dukkha translated as dissatisfaction. Now, it all made sense. Many people are perennially dissatisfied with their lot and love a good old whinge, complain, and moan. It could become an Olympic sport.

It was a truth, the truth of dissatisfaction.

How then to live in a world without being attached to anything and yet not having anhedonia or being nihilistic?

It requires only a subtle shift. Instead of resenting being born, which many appear to do, why not accept with joy the gift of life. In which one is merely borrowing the things which the universe supplies. Why not value these gifts without grasping, without clinging, because they just like you are impermanent. On the scale of the universe a human being is mightily impermanent, you exist for around 10-8 of the age of the current universe!! That is pretty fleeting.

But hey we can tend to see ourselves as mightily important.

The trick is to value without coveting, to enjoy without indulging, to take only so much as you need from life and to be thankful for the loan. Know that the universe does not owe us anything whatsoever, so we have no right to feel in anyway entitled.

If we are such fleeting beings time is precious and is a gift that is not to be wasted. You cannot hang on to a second, a minute or an hour.

Value is the middle way. Not clinging and attached, not nihilistic and uncaring, valuing with humility.

Attaining the meaning of impermanence, a being turns from dissatisfaction with a growing sense of equanimity and balance, and places value on the gift of life. Its chance to learn and evolve, here on this beautiful blue planet for but one fleeting moment of now.

Taking Things for Granted

I’ll hazard a guess that before this tiny bag of RNA started to run riot, many people took many things and maybe many people for granted. These things were always available and the people at beck and call. Now things are not quite so available, our activities are curtailed. We did not value. There was a sense of entitlement. “It is my right to dine out at a restaurant!!” People are complaining that their divine right to holidays has been cancelled. The people we took for granted are no longer there either because of travel restrictions or death. Their company which we once took for granted has been withdrawn. Again, we did not value our interactions with our fellow beings.

Two things struck me this morning on my trawl through the media, an agricultural “disaster” in France caused by a recent cold spell and the global shortage of semiconductors. There will be a reduced grape harvest and therefore less wine. The just when needed logistics chain has failed and interrupted semiconductor production. Natural disasters have exacerbated this. About half the world chip production is at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Taiwan is a geo-political global flash point in the “war” between China and USA. Chips are in everything and car production has been halted because there were not enough chips. Things are way more fragile than we imagine. No chips means no groovy new smart ‘phones. Now that would be a real “disaster”. It is kind of odd that we rely on processed sand, silicon, so very heavily.

Because we take things for granted there can be an “I’ll do it tomorrow or another day” mentality. People put things off out of shyness, or lack of courage, or laziness. There are so many things that we just didn’t do, just didn’t say or just didn’t get around to. Because we take things for granted, we just cannot be arsed.

But things are impermanent, they will not always be available, the instant where we might have acted is so often passed, lost for ever, never coming back. That moment can be wasted.

It would be a weird thing to have on a tombstone.

“He/she just didn’t value, took things for granted and now it is too late, what a shame.”

What / who do you take for granted?

Are you entitled so to do?

What if the grant was withdrawn?