I met with a Danish friend of mine who’s been living in London the last few years. Her grandma died recently. Her mum is gone too. And not long ago she received a telephone call from a storage facility in Denmark where she’d been keeping a lot of her personal belongings.
There’d been a fire. Everything was gone.
She was calm and smiling as she told me about it, although she assured me that hadn’t been her reaction when she first found out.
Personal belongings, each with a cherished memory attached. Gone. No compensation. No money-back.
We talked about the absurdity of it all and laughed at the realisation that for the past few years of her life she’s been paying to have her belongings burned.
Unsurprisingly, she’s been thinking a lot about death and loss and life these past few weeks. I think a lot about those things too. The brevity of our existence seems to be all around me lately.
We cling. We hold on. We attempt to control – people, situations. We accumulate. We consume. We buy. We throw away. We become attached. We take photos hoping to keep moments that are already gone alive. We try to make people love us and yet they don’t. We try to make people leave and yet they stay. We attempt, constantly to do the impossible: to bend life to our will.
And one day, the phone rings and it’s all gone. It burns in a warehouse somewhere. Everything we fought so hard to hold onto no longer exists. And then we suffer in our loss.
But there is beauty in the burning. And there is freedom in the fire.
There is nothing in this world you can hold on to. Your body will change, grow old and die. The job you thought you’d have for life will disappear. Relationships will begin…and end. Good times will come…and go. Bad times will do the same. Those you love will wither and die. Pain isn’t permanent. And neither is pleasure. Everything has its time; its life span; its shelf-life.
In the knowledge, understanding and acceptance of this truth: that all things will come and go, we find ourselves with the greatest freedom.
The freedom to be here, now, in this single moment of existence in which we find ourselves without any sadness for its potential loss or any longing for its continuation.
In this state of presence and non-attachment, suffering ends.
Love the moment. And then let it go.
Let your life burn.
When one moment turns to ash, another rises into existence.
Love and courage,