By Ryan Hutchins
All life is in a constant state of fluctuation. The earth we inhabit is perpetually rotating, the days disappear and turn into nights, one season dies and gives birth to another.
Without exception, all beings are seasonal as well. They grow, flourish, then wither and die. Life itself is an elaborate on and off system. Any attempt to give something permanence will time and time again be fruitless. Not only are these efforts a waste of energy, but they can also be harmful.
We’re human. We get involved. We attach to ourselves, others and moments. We spend every waking minute in our bodies and minds. How could we not? It’s unavoidable. It isn’t bad to fall in love or get attached, in my opinion it is one of the best experiences in life. I believe that it’s better to have loved and lost. Having said that, I believe there is a difference between attachment and clinging.
Attachment to me is reflective of a connection, clinging more of a desperate attempt to hold on to a connection.
Clinging can cause one to suffer from what we’ve lost, be tortured by the fear of losing what we have or what may come. Clinging to joyous moments can prevent us from appreciating the simple joys of everyday existence, while resisting the negative ones actually cause them to progress and linger.
A great example that illustrates this idea is to think of a caterpillar, and its metamorphosis into a butterfly. There is no definitive way of knowing what the caterpillar knows, and whether or not it understands what will become of it. What does appear to be clear is that the caterpillar does not resist this process. The caterpillar appears to be ever present and unattached to itself in its temporary form. If it were attached, it would never become a butterfly.
What this teaches me is that life has a natural course for this creature beyond that which may be implicitly known.
I think about all my energy spent on exploring and contemplating the universe, and how more often than not I have only found more questions than answers. The more I explore, the more confident I become that the many mysteries of life are beyond my understanding. Fortunately I enjoy mysteries more than facts.
Another thing I learn from the caterpillar is that if I hang on too tightly to what I am right now, I could prevent myself from becoming who or what I am meant to be. It is a reminder to stay open, and to remain mindful and present. I may enjoy being a caterpillar but if I cling to the comfort of the land, I will never be able to grow wings and fly.
I believe that like the caterpillar, all things have within them their own distinct inner nature, and it is always there guiding them along their journey on this earth. It is much more subtle than the mind, but is always present. Listen to it. Embrace change however unsettling it may feel. We never know how the future will play out, or what will become of seemingly small disconnected events.
Letting go of what we think we are can give birth to what we are meant to be.
Ryan Hutchins is a San Francisco bay area native who lives with his wife, son and two dogs. He is an avid music lover and enjoys exploring different ideas and perspectives. Some of his favorite hobbies include surfing, hiking and going on walks to nowhere, but has lately rediscovered a love for writing and poetry. He is a vegan and large supporter of both animal and human rights, and is hopeful for the day when all can live both simply and in peace. If you are interested in reading more from him or would just love to share a discussion with a friend, you can find him at mysticsofgnar.wordpress.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor: Peter Schaller