Life's shifting sands

People hold onto many things. They hold onto success, material possessions, status, their lovers, children, parents and friends; they hold onto their identity as a mother, or an invalid or a leader. They hold onto being good, or beautiful, or a rebel, or an artist or a very spiritual person. Even more commonly, people hold onto a desire for these things. They are always wanting, striving towards something, and they believe that when they get what they want they will be happy.

The reason people hold onto things is because they believe that this will anchor them in reality. It will give them a sense of identity, purpose and meaning in a vast universe into which they imagine, if they let go, they would dissolve, disappear and be lost. Our sense of self is so fragile, so alienated, so small that we feel we must fortify it by attachment to other things. We become a conglomerate of stuff, like a magnet with a bunch of paperclips stuck all over it.

Unfortunately none of these things is a true anchor. The reality is that life is constantly shifting, transforming and reshaping itself. Nothing you hold onto will give you the security that you need because nothing in this world is permanent. Nothing ever stays the same. As Eckhart Tolle points out, "phenomenal reality" is like constantly shifting sand. The only thing you can be sure of is that tomorrow everything will be different. Just like a sand castle, our lives will disappear with the tides.

Image: Copyright Ariel Camilo