When I was a new parent, I heard over and over “Enjoy every minute – they grow up so fast!” At first, I bought into it. I recall looking through my child’s pictures on her first birthday and feeling panic over how much she had changed.
But then, I noticed her eyes in every picture. That soul, the essence I felt while carrying her and the essence I fell in love with the first time I looked in her eyes, was the same. It is eternal.
We change through out our lives. It is inevitable. That is what life is. But how do we relate to that change?
When people say “they grow up so fast”, what belief is operating? Here are some possibilities:
1. They grow up and I am not ready.
2. They grow up and I was too busy with other things.
3. They grow up and I must constantly adapt to how they change – and I don’t want to.
4. They grow up and I experience loss as they do.
In all cases, the painful belief is with the parent. Most children can’t wait to grow up. Certainly a child may be exposed to too much responsibility or pressure that results in lost innocence but that is not about age. Life begins to provide the circumstances essential for our growth immediately.
So how does that phrase impact how we view aging? I believe our attempts as a society to prioritize youth is our fear of dying. “Buddhism teaches that we should not shrink from the fact of death but squarely confront it. Our contemporary culture has been described as one that seeks to avoid and deny the fundamental question of our mortality.”- SGI
The wonderful thing about gaining years is it becomes harder to sustain identification with an egoic self. You will experience career change, physical change, intellectual change and emotional change your entire life. If your goal is to live forever, these changes will be viewed as loss.
There is a Buddhist tenet that life is about readiness for death. “From the Buddhist perspective, life and death are two phases of a continuum. Life does not begin at birth nor end at death. Everything in the universe—from invisible microbes in the air we breathe to great swirling galaxies—passes through these phases. Our individual lives are part of this great cosmic rhythm.”- SGI
Every change in life exist as part of a larger flow. Nature is living and dying in every moment. You can never walk the same street twice as the trees, the grass, the flowers all change every moment. Leaves bud and die. Grass browns. Flowers bloom and seed and die. We accept this even if we are not conscious of it.
Even music dies. The silence between notes is the end of one sound and readiness for a new one. In essence, it is all energy flow.
When we are in flow, we don’t resist what is. Children don’t grow up too fast. Lives are not about aging. There is gratitude for every moment.