To live a family life and be non-attached is very difficult and, at first glance, would seem to be unnatural. What father or mother would not be grief-stricken at the serious illness of a child? When one is supporting a family, how could one not be concerned about the financial future?
Yet, I have known a few who led successful family and financial lives while fully understanding the impermanence of everything. To feel one’s present health and financial status is invulnerable is childish; any thinking person knows these can change in the blink of an eye – or the crash of a car.
The Chinese say, “Make peace with heaven and not with men.” This requires an understanding that there is more than what we see, and that all things and beings are interrelated. The English poet, John Donne, referred to this when he said, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Yet most people are really interested only in the welfare of themselves and their families, the opposite of compassion – not realizing that the welfare of all others is closely integrated with their own welfare. To realize this is the beginning of spirituality. Until all have some idea of this interrelatedness, there will be wars, suffering, and injustice.
When you understand how temporary everything is, racial and religious provincialism will die. Then there will be a better, happier world.
This article is published in Spiritual Odyssey.