When we identify with the temporal – that which is subject to change – rather than the eternal, we’re prone to suffering. By its very nature the temporal is in constant flux, always moving, changing, rearranging, and being lost; always coming and going, emerging and dying, appearing and disappearing. This is the nature of life.
For instance, identifying strongly with the body may cause us to suffer when the body becomes diseased or when it ages and subsequently changes shape and size; when we think of that body as “us”, we attach a certain permanence and fixedness to something that isn’t either of those things.
If we identify strongly with the thought system, we’ll suffer when the mind imagines past hurts and creates future tensions and anxieties by projecting that thought-self into a potentially stressful future place; likewise, we’ll suffer when the mental projection of “I” tries to cling stiffly to identities or beliefs, both of which are tenuous and subject to change as time moves on.
So, instead of clinging to the temporal (clinging to that which is naturally subject to change) quite possibly we can join the flow of change, floating easily and gracefully along the river of life’s many twists and turns, while also coming to remember our eternal nature, which neither comes nor goes, moves nor changes. You can say that we are all consciousness manifesting in various forms – the consciousness that types these words now is not separate from the consciousness that grows the leaves on the trees or that moves the deer through the forest; consciousness illuminates form. Human beings, however, have the seemingly uncanny ability to become aware of being conscious – you can say, then, that unlike other sentient beings, we have the ability to become aware of that underlying, never-changing awareness that is peering through our eyes, feeling with our hands, and creating through these human vessels. This is magical.
The realization that we are akin to the movie screen on which the movie is being played is true freedom – different characters, dramas, hardships, joys, and circumstances will be projected onto that movie screen but never actually touch that screen at all. The screen does, you can say, hold all changing forms with equanimity, without judgement or attachment. No matter what hardship is portrayed on that screen, the screen remains unscathed.
One can love the temporal mightily, but an overinvestment can create tensions, divisions, and fears – remembering our eternal nature is the key to watching the play of form with a deep sense of presence and nonattachment and with a new sense of compassion for what appears no matter its content, all the while knowing that what you really are never changes, never has changed, and is always here in one form or another.
This is the remembrance.