A little blue flower growing through a tiny crack in the asphalt of my driveway convinced me to re-evaluate my long-held idea that life is fragile. I have now come to the opposite conclusion that life is durable.
There is a difference between “fragile” and “impermanent.” All forms of life are impermanent. The daily obituaries remind us of that. But when you see someone listed in the obituaries, think of how much they endured. If the life force within them had not been durable, they would have been gone long ago.
As you see their lifeless body in the funeral home, you may conclude that they no longer exist but I think of how many planes of consciousness we experience in this life and find it easy to conclude that they may have just experienced a shift in planes of existence. If they go to another plane, it is possible that it will also be impermanent but what does it matter as long as their essence remains intact. Life goes on and on. It merely changes its form.
I remember once reading about a Buddhist monk who was preparing himself a death ritual to use at the time of his death. He called it “a celebration of impermanence.” He did not wish to spend his life – especially his final days – fighting against what is. He accepted impermanence. He felt that the way things are must be accepted and the best way to accept them fully is to celebrate them.
I stood and looked at that little blue flower growing through a tiny crack in the asphalt of my driveway and it dawned on me that we should also celebrate the tenacity of life. That flower was saying, “Look! I wanted to bloom so much that I grew through asphalt. Trust the life force within you. It is not fragile. Just because it is impermanent does not mean it is fragile.”
All those years I was saying life is fragile, I was conditioning my mind and body to be fragile. Our body has ears, you know. It hears what we say.
Think of your journey to date. You started out as a tiny seed no one can see with their naked eye. You grew inside a body for 9 months. You came out of that body as helpless as any form of life could possibly be. You could not feed yourself. You could not speak. Your ears worked but they could not understand what they heard. It took months to understand what were friendly and unfriendly sounds. It appears that everything was against your survival but any fragility in you was insignificant compared to your life force.
Impermanence is only part of what we should be celebrating. We should also celebrate the tendency of life in all its forms to continue moving onward and upward through all kinds of challenges.
My best friend for 37 years never weighed over 70 pounds. His leg bones were no bigger than my wrists. He had polio when he was 6 months old and it ravaged his body. Yet he finished business college and was a successful accountant. He created a sterling personality and was loved by almost everyone he ever met. What he lacked in his physical form he more than made up for in the quality of his being.
His form was impermanent. He died. But no one can convince me that he ceased to be. He was simply too powerful in his personhood to cease to be.
One thing is certain: the part of him that I assimilated into my being is as strong and healthy today as it was when his physical form was still here. His essence became a part of my personal reality. That part of his life force lives as healthily now in me as it ever did when he was in my physical presence.
No, life is not fragile.
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