27: The Eye: To Live Is To Suffer

In our lives, suffering comes in 3 flavors:

First, there is the physical and mental suffering caused by birth, illness, growing old, and dying.

Portrait of a Maasai Matron, Kenya (c) Alan Brigish

Second comes the anxiety or stress of trying to hold on to ideas, concepts, feelings that are constantly changing.

Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia - Alan Brigish
Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia (c) Alan Brigish

Finally, don’t we all have a dissatisfaction with life, because of its ever-changing elements that are without a central core or substance? We crave permanence, but everything is impermanent, EVERYTHING!

But, what exactly is “impermanence”?  It is that state that exists because, by definition, time cannot stand still. If time could stand still, impermanence would turn into permanence. What happens when time stands still? It disappears and ceases to have meaning.

Wildebeest Carcass, Maasai Mara - Kenya © Alan Brigish
Wildebeest Carcass, Maasai Mara – Kenya © Alan Brigish

Look at this image of balloons, frozen in time at dawn. Now imagine that you and the balloons are all there is. There is no you (subject) or the balloons (object).  You are one. Never-changing, frozen. Nothing outside of you and this photograph exists. That is permanence.  But is it happiness? Hmmmm.

Balloons over The Mara
Balloons over The Maasai Mara, Kenya (c) Alan Brigish

To be continued … and the good news is, that there is a way out of the suffering.

What are you thinking?