Nothing is permanent.
Which is to say, there isn’t any “thing” out there that will always be here. In fact, you could go so far as to claim that nothing is ever always here as well. Meaning, you’re never entirely solid, in one spot, for long.
Like water? Sure. But it’s probably more accurate to say like a wave, or to be even more specific a series of pulses moving through space in a wave like pattern. Never in one spot for long.
In fact, movement itself, whether its in the form of a person walking, a drum beat, or an atom vibrating, is pretty much what makes up most of what we all conventionally refer to as REALITY.
So, if we’re never in one spot, never really always here or will be always here, where are we? Well, no one can say for sure. But one thing is certain: we’re not here.
Sort of. In truth, and i know this may sound confusing to you, but we’re kind of always here. We’ve never NOT been here. Crazy, right? I know. But its totally true. But I digress.
Just so we’re all on the same page, when I talk about not being here, I’m refer to anything we typically call “our life” is fixed. It may seem as if it’s solid, sturdy, and never going away for awhile, eventually, its going to disappear. Your cool haircut will grow out, your car will fall apart, those pears will rot, and your awesome garage band will stop playing. Bummer, i know.
The cool thing is that it doesn’t matter. Nope. Because that’s only a part of life, its not all there is to it, and it most certainly isn’t all you are. That’s right. You’re not just a collection of things. You’re actually no one thing. To put it more bluntly, you’re not some thing, you’re nothing. (Don’t worry, once you accept this, you’re going to feel more special than you ever could have felt thinking the old way.)
Here’s the deal: knowing that we are not fixed, that we’re movement, gives us a good start. It’s a great piece of understanding that can give you a great perspective from which to design your life. If you’re only going to live once, why not learn how to do things right the first time?
Let’s take a look at this concept of reality as a “movement”. What does it make you think of? What do you picture? Rivers? Wind? Or maybe you’re like me and you think of music.
Music is basically a set of audible patterns arranged in a way that builds what we call melody, rhythm, and so on. It’s also a great example of the impermanence of things. Music is something that exists but you can never really hold it, or keep it for long. In enters your ear and goes away, leaving you with only an impression, a memory of its presence. A great illustration of this point can be found by listening to this recording of the great zen philosopher: Alan Watts.
If music is basically a creation that is composed of a collection of patterns, then what is a pattern? Well, another collection of patterns. I know. But it’s important to understand this truth because it will lead to you being able to create more meaning and fulfillment into what you do, and reduce the amount of time you spend feeling empty and bored and ultimately not alive.
A pattern is a collection of repeated actions. A song is a series notes played on an instrument or voice. Language is a series of words strung together. That ugly sweater you like to wear to your Christmas work party is a collection of knitting movements your Aunt Linda made while watching Gilmore Girls every day at 6pm on cable.
When Alan Watts describes our life as music that’s meant to be played, he’s referring to this idea of patterns and applying it to our very own lives, who we are and what we are is a song, a collection of patterns, of beats, of actions we take everyday, of feelings we have about the world and each other, of everything we think about and assume to know. Our identity is a song we play to ourselves and others. Each note compromising of a point of view or opinion we have about whatever it is we happen to be concerned about at the moment. Or what we believe to be of absolute importance to our place in the universe. Songs. Patterns. Creations we each take part in constructing.
Sometimes we do it together. Sometimes we go it alone. Some times it brings us together, sometimes it tears us apart!
OH! C’mon. Sing it with me. All together now…