Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Nature of Change

Change is the fundamental aspect of existence. Life is composed of change, depends upon it. It is one organic evolving whole whose primary operation is coemergence. This is the metaphysical rule that every experience can ultimately be reduced to.

It's simple when you think about it. If the universe was only one coherent whole, with no moving, differentiated parts, then nothing would ever change. Time would not exist, no perception could ever arise. In order for us to apprehend the universe things must be in a constant state of movement or change.

This sounds like easy logic and a good way to look at the universe, which it is. But this simple rule creates a lot of strife for us mortals! In fact this is the essence of the buddha's 4 noble truths. The buddha says that: 1) Life is suffering and that 2) this suffering is caused by our clinging to impermanent objects which will eventually be wrenched away from us but 3) this suffering has a resolution which is 4) training ourselves to cease clinging to these objects. (by following the eightfold path)

Because we identify ourselves with something that will eventually pass away we experience pain and loss over the passing. If we can objectify this process and realize that those objects are not in fact part of our selves, then we can let them go without the pain of loss. This idea scares people deeply. What joy could one have from life without the intimate associations we create with our environment? A perfectly valid concern when one's only mode of knowing is through personal association.

Once we have let go of our association of object with self we have a much deeper and fuller access to reality. There is no need for the person-object dichotomy, because we experience both as a fluid exchange. We are in direct contact with the essence of reality not looking at it from a fractured, grasping perspective. When this fundamental barrier does come down we begin to realize that what we perceived as reality is actually nothing but what we lay on top of the "true reality", how we make it fit into our finite consciousness. True reality is not something to be divided up by labels but something experienced directly, pure apprehension without conscious intervention. This is what we must strive for if we wish to transcend suffering and simultaniously develop a greater connection to our reality.

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