“Better to understand for a single day the fleeting nature of things than to live for a hundred years without such understanding” - Buddha
Transience is the very nature of life.
Change is the only constant thing says Buddhism, and also a matter of common sense within the experience of all.
We cling to aspects of life - relationships, health, career, status etc etc. Little do we realise the aspect of change inherent in all the aforesaid aspects while we indulge in them. Realisation dawns only when a cherished relationship turns sour, when disease dispels sound heath, when there is a sudden change in career etc. Change also happens for the good, but in good days one is steeped in indulgence. Change speaks better in unhappiness. It’s when the nature of transience is understood better.
The positive way of looking at change is to not to look at it as a disaster, but to consider it as simply a change. However, it seems beyond the human grasp. A simple understanding of the fact that life is made up of changes because the nature of life itself is a constant flow, helps gain an insight into it. Hence non-acceptance of change is like expecting a river to stand still. The journey goes on as the kaleidoscope of life presents fresh pictures and patterns. To go with the flow is the way.
Said and done non-acceptance of change is inevitable in face of a sudden change. Hence how is one to go with the flow? A deep understanding of change, or rather what are all subject to change starting from ourselves, and that which is changeless, will enable one to go with the flow.
Our body undergoes numerous changes from birth to death, and the mind is a continuous flux of changes with a variety of thoughts in succession, sometimes even contradicting our own convictions once formed before. Failing memory and other cognitive skills etc all pronounce change. If the very body is subject to change what then of the activities associated with the body?
What is that which is changeless? It is the sense of being, the sense of existence or the feeling of ‘I-ness’ if we may call, that is ever present. It is not the ‘I’ that we associate with our changing body and the ever changing mind, which assumes the body to be itself. It is beyond the body and the mind because it perceives both the body and the mind.
Ramana Maharshi rationalises the fact that one's body does not call itself the ‘I’. So when enquiring WHAT terms the body as ‘I’(the mind), one experiences the sense of true infinite b-e-i-n-g, without a limited feeling of ‘I’ pertaining to the body.
This being is changeless and ever present. One’s body, breadth, mind, intellect etc all has this changeless being or existence as the base. Holding on to the changeless as one’s true nature or the ‘self’ as expressed as the ‘Self’ in spiritual literature, helps to go with the flow.
That does not mean that one has to forsake the body or the mind or refrain from activities. In fact one cannot owing to one's limited identity with the body. However, the body and the sense of individuality appear on the very base, the b-e-i-n-g, like the waves that have the ocean for their base.
One will have to have a firm understanding of the fact about the transient nature of things associated with the body, mind complex. As a result there is a great sense of acceptance which results in peace to go with the flow of life or to simply live in the present. With continuous practise of holding on to the being, one understands that one is not the doer of things as things happen according to the divine will.
So what enables one to hold on to the being? In my experience it is purely GRACE for even while effort is investe, it is Grace alone which even enables one to put in the required effort.