We experience the change of seasons each year. The change of seasons helps us to appreciate the good weather and long days of summer. The winter gives valuable contrast to the summer.
But, there may be another lesson here for us to ponder.
We experience our own seasons in life. Conception and birth, infancy, growth, youth, maturity, old age and decline, and eventual death. Of course, not every individual endures until old age before dying.
As well, there are other seasons we experience. Seasons or periods of struggle, of sacrifice, of sorrow, of pain, of loss, of grief, and of remorse. Other seasons are of joy, of anticipation, of hopeful expectation, of desire, and of love and of fulfillment. These may come upon us unexpectedly and do not necessarily follow a particular or logical order. It may be that we humans, to a certain degree, need the painful experiences in order to learn to more fully appreciate and savor the joyful experiences when these come. I am not sure about this and I am not rationalizing nor glorifying suffering here.
I visited my elderly mother yesterday at the home where she is cared for. She still possesses a lucid, clear mind albeit she is hard of hearing and her frail, aged body is weak. It saddens me that my mother is alone much of the time each day. (Some of her other children could get off their backsides and come visit her from time to time.) She is happy when she has visitors. Her life is rather limited at this stage. Understandably, she thinks of the past and her many memories more than she thinks about the future.
The body changes over time, yet we are the same person, the same “cell of awareness” the whole time. The atman or soul is timeless (not subject to the effects of time), and thus eternally young.
We are part of the process of life. Yes, we are individual spirit souls, but we are also part of the process in play, or at play, in the universe. As the Hindus say, the process – filled with joy and with suffering – is Lila, the divine play or the Divine at play.
To be fully alive, to have fully lived, we need to experience all the seasons of life. And, our experiences of these seasons will teach us valuable lessons if we listen to the subtle whisperings in our souls.
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