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There Is Nothing Devoid Of Change Here

Examine the human experience, our experience in the world, with a clear, unsentimental gaze, and look for what is permanent and what is unchanging in it. If we see properly, behind the surface, we realize that nothing is devoid of change. Our bodies grow for a few years; then gradually decay sets in. The hair turns grey, the jowls sag, the teeth fall out, the back gives way; finally, the body returns to the elements of which it is made.

Our minds too are constantly changing. Yesterday we were crabby; today we are cheerful — our emotions change moment to moment. Our thoughts are in constant motion, bouncing from one thing to another like a rubber ball. Even our personality — that complex of ideas, attitudes, likes and dislikes, desires, ambitions, and tendencies that we lump together and call ‘I’, that too is in constant flux. And of course, all matter is changing; everything in the universe — and the very universe itself — is impermanent. Everything, our homes, schools, temples, mountains, oceans, and this very earth itself will crumble into dust one day. The whole earth, what to speak of our little lives!

We don’t like this. We resist this fact of the inevitable destruction of everything material, and especially the destruction of our own bodies. We try to hide our aging with surgery and dye, to arrest it with diet, vitamins, exercise, and drugs, and to somehow delay the inevitable. There is a good reason for this resistance: we cannot accept our impermanence because we are not in fact impermanent.

Our true nature is the indestructible Self, the Atman, the infinite Existence-Consciousness-Bliss beyond space and time, beyond mind and speech. But, identified as we are with body and mind, we try to make them permanent; and this is a project doomed to failure. We are all seeking to experience joy, which is our divine birthright and our true nature, but we are looking for it in the wrong place, in that which is temporary; thus, our happiness too is temporary, and is followed by misery. We are seeking freedom, but we make the mistake of seeking freedom for the senses instead of freedom from the senses.

Source - excerpts from article titled 'Vairagya - Path To Freedom' by Swami Mahayogananda published in the Prabuddha Bharata Magazine January 2010 issue.