We must know at each moment how to lose everything that we may gain everything; we must be able to shed the past like a dead body that we may be reborn into a greater plenitude.
— Mother Mirra
Today is the festival of ‘Bhogi’ in parts of southern India. On this day, people discard old things and bring in the new. The festival of Bhogi paves way for the festival of ‘Pongal’ tomorrow (also celebrated in different parts of India with different names like Sankaranti, Uttarayan, etc.), which marks the beginning of a new month and new times.
Discarding the old is necessary for the new to come in. We see that with every aspect of nature… a leaf sprouts, fresh and green it sanctifies its existence by being what it is, after some time it dries, and then gracefully falls. It then becomes part of the soil, adding to the fertility of the soil so that new plants and new leaves like itself can spring forth. We see that everywhere… flowing river is healthy, but if it becomes stagnant, it becomes scum. The river has to lose itself into the sea if it has to stay alive.
The human being is no different. Every second, millions of cells in your body are dead, and million new cells are being born. Our physical appearance change over time, our thoughts change, and someday we’ll have to shed this physical identity and be born again.
But sometimes, we become too attached to certain things in life, certain mental concepts, opinions. Have you noticed that even when other people change, we are hesitant to change our opinion about them? Without shedding off the old, we keep adding things to life, keep adding concepts to the mind, it becomes heavier and heavier, after a time it becomes too heavy to carry along and it drains away all our energy. Even at this point, some people simply refuse to let it go, their attachment is too strong. But whether or not we let it go, change is the law of nature, things will be taken away, and our attachment to things can make the process very painful.
Pain is not caused by change itself, but it is caused by our attachment to things and concepts, our refusal to accept the law of change. Pain is nothing but our refusal to let it go.
We need not be afraid, there need not be pain. We simply need to acknowledge the law of change. We simply need to shed our attachment to the old, be open for the new. When we understand and apply this simple wisdom to our lives, change becomes graceful, life becomes lighter and joyful.
Photo by Jesse Kruger