The Dreaded “C” Word

Posted: June 17, 2015

Change. What better word to describe the day I’m having, for today I celebrate 58 years of being on this planet. And there have been moments in my life when I’ve wondered how I’ve gotten this far. Over these years I’ve learned to support change because, not only is it good, it’s necessary. I can sometimes deeply feel the changes in my life and how they affect everything I see, do and am.

For example, since all physical things have a “Best Before” date, I sometimes wonder about the actual purpose of: politics, religion and wealth because when our Best Before dates arrive, we can take none of these things with us. They’re left behind for others to fight over. What is the purpose of engaging in these things if, at the end of the road, they’re meaningless. In other words, if we can’t take them with us, how important were they in the first place? And since we can’t take any of these things with us, why the preoccupation with right or left wing politics? Whose GOD is better than whose? Amassing great wealth? The economic One Percent versus the 99 Percent barely squeaking by or impoverished?

It’s interesting that some of the most revered people ever to Grace this planet barely had any possessions or wealth at all: Buddha and St. Francis of Assisi came from wealthy families and gave up everything to live paupers’ lives in order to serve others. Jesus was a poor, nomadic man and never wanted for anything during his life of servitude. Mother Teresa lived amongst the poorest casts in India and always managed to have the resources to care for thousands of some of the most impoverished people on the planet. Thomas Merton, Ghandi and Mohammed lived frugally and gave a wealth of knowledge and heart to the world. (When I speak of Mohammed, I’m referring to the father of Islam, the religion which springs from Abraham as does Judaism and Christianity. Not the Jihadist political ideology that disguises itself as religion therefore twisting the good words and deeds of Islam. Just as the Republican Jesus in America twists the good words and deeds of Christianity. But I digress).

I’m not saying we should ignore politics, religion or wealth, we should put these things in their places. I’m concerned we’ve put too much emphasis on amassing possessions and obsessing over things we have little control over, such as other peoples’ belief systems. I’m concerned we’ve become “future obsessed” to the point where we don’t live in that precious moment of Now, (yes, I’ve read Eckhart Tolle). Everywhere we turn we’re being bombarded with messages to think about our future, plan for our future, our children are our future, what are your future retirement plans, where do you want to be five years in the future?

We have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow, let alone five years in the future. Yes, we can hope and perhaps even make assumptions about what will happen and those assumptions may well be correct. The truth is anything can happen between now and then to change our lives drastically in a moment. We know this. And we still spend time, energy and money we don’t have amassing things that bog us down, concerning ourselves with the false divisions of politics, remain hypnotized with our media and technology and obsess about the future. This is why there are times when we finally stop what we’re obsessing about, stay still for a moment we find ourselves saying things like, “Really? Did that really happen ten years ago? Already? Where was I?” Tempus Fugit.

So the biggest change that has occurred in my life is a newly found awareness that there is no time, yet time moves faster as the days come and go. Therefore, the older I get the more I am aware of my own “Best Before” date. I understand the need for change and embrace it. I understand the obsession to amass things, (I’ve been there), and yet I know how good it feels to unload all of the extraneous things and obsessions in my life. I appreciate the present moment and all that it shows me. I see those things I once thought were so important, like the false divisions and promises of politics and mainstream religions, are not so important after all. Most of all I enjoy the quiet mornings as I hear the birds singing outside of my window. The sound of the rain falling at night, the taste of great food, the smiles of loved ones and a newly found appreciation for the moment, because this moment will never happen again. And that’s really what change is all about.