“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”
Introduction – Impermanence
Its been about 40 straight days that I have spent an hour or more with the ocean. She’s taught me many lessons, the most important being the nature of impermanence.
Impermanence is a universal law which has been proven through experience and through science. I’m sure we have all lost a loved one, gained weight, lost weight, made friends, lost friends, got dream jobs, lost dream jobs, and the like. The only constant on our planet is that things are apparently always changing. The sun rises and sets, a tree blooms with magnificent flowers which eventually fall back to the Earth. And the ocean, oh the ocean… somedays the Atlantic is as placid as a lake, other days I enter and am caught in an undertow and buried by six foot waves. Somedays I glide gracefully through crystal clear water, swimming to infinity with schools of kaleidoscopic angel fish trailing behind me, other days I struggle to wade through globs of seaweed, which hinder even the tiniest of my movements.
Through science, we have been shown that we are all essentially composed of subatomic particles, protons, electrons, and neutrons. The interactions between these particles make up atoms, which cluster together to form molecules, the molecules form into cells, which form into tissues, organs, organ systems, and then us. These particles, which are essentially us, are dynamic, constantly changing, colliding with each other at the speed of light.
The Nature of Impermanence
Spending so many days in a row with the ocean has showed me the true nature of our existence; combining my experience with the ocean, my knowledge of basic science, and other experiences such as Vipassana meditation, I have been shown that the true nature of our planet is a dynamic flux. The ocean is always the same ocean, although some days its full of seaweed, some days its placid, some days its full of people, some days not, and so on. And so the human being: somedays he is pleasant and helpful, somedays he is angry and restless, somedays he is somewhere in between. All which I have observed has taught me that no matter the outward appearance of a human, an ocean, or anything for that matter, it is always the same entity, only the outward appearance has changed; the entity is displaying a multitude of characteristics which are all part of its essential nature. In this regard, it is fair to respect everything for its true nature, no matter what characteristics it is displaying. If one day I cannot swim in the ocean because it is tumultuous and filled with seaweed, I cannot abandon the ocean and disregard it because it is “having a bad day.” I know it will one day return to a more tranquil and peaceful state; and hey, even if it never did, it is still the ocean, it is still composed of the same core components that I am. If I cannot respect the ocean’s bad days, how can I respect and love myself? If I expect it to always provide a place to swim, play, and relax, how do I feel when its full of red tide and sharks and lightning?
The ocean has taught me to accept the nature of things as they are: the essential nature of everything on our planet is its state of fluctuation; the more we can accept this fluctuation, the more peaceful we will feel, and the more helpful we can be to ourselves, others, and the planet. If we expect the ocean to always be calm, a person to always be happy, we will be dissapointed over and over again. If we accept the true nature of our planet, its resources, and creatures, and love them all no matter what, then we are on the route to true understanding and deep Peace.
Thanks ocean! Haha
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*Originally posted on my old website which no longer exists, riverbearfitness.com.