The Tao of Temporary

I live in a museum and there is nothing here that I can consider mine or that I own. I choose to admire and play with everything I can and remain careful about what I want around me. At this point, I understand everything I used to think was “mine” is only on temporary loan. I buy and accumulate things and we call that “ownership. But I own nothing, everything is borrowed in a limited, time-based plan. I may “pay” for it, but ownership is just a limited idea based on renting and has no relevance when we view it from mortality.

I live in a casino of combinations. The numbers and combinations of interactions that are occurring around me every second are staggering. Everything is in motion and a state of change. That’s exactly why I cannot know the future. I cannot extrapolate what will come next. I can only make educated guesses and play the odds. If I believe I know the future, then I have to also know the outcome of all the combinations that will occur every second while they are affecting the next event creating new combinations. Some humans may be able to do that, I cannot.

I live in a temporary field. l dissolve and restructure all the time. Because of that there’s times  when I feel scared, unsure, lonely, and distanced. It’s as if everyone else has a script and a part in life’s movie and they know what’s going on, but I don’t. But what I have noticed is we all exist in a  “Don’t know” position. What anyone “knows” at any time is miniscule and subject to constant change. My belief is that the awareness of that delicate position produces the feeling of “I have a hole in the middle that needs filling” reference frame that all humans experience.

We could choose to have a broad general compassion for the human condition described above. We could simply engage our compassion built on the fact that we and everyone around us is temporary. You and I might think we are something or someone special, we may have all kinds of money or public acclaim behind us, we may have that important position and “own” the big stuff. But guess what? None of that is going to make any difference when the odds align and we phase out of here. I believe that accepting that fact and acting from that acceptance would change us and how we do everything.  

What’s preventing us from viewing all life from the position of mortality? From knowing and acting that we are all, regardless of who we think we are or know, Mortal? Then in knowing, we respond to life out of kindness, compassion, and caring.

Be kind to yourself and others,

Bryan Wagner

12 thoughts on “The Tao of Temporary

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  1. Everything in fact is temporary my friend, yes, that is why the work of elevating and growing our soul is the only thing we should be feeding. That is our spirit’s mission here for we own nothing. This is a reassuring concept that helps me to see the beauty in life. Enjoy the moments, which are free to part take in, for they are gone in an instant, a snap and a flash. Beautifully written. Your honesty shines throughout.

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    1. Sometimes, because everything is temporary and a one time happening, the tears come to my eyes recognizing what an amazing opportunity it is to be the human experience. Thanks for the comment and your wisdom.

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  2. ”None of that is going to make any difference when the odds align and we phase out of here. I believe that accepting that fact and acting from that acceptance would change us and how we do everything” Totally with you, here, Bryan. I’m reading a book called Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization, by Scott Barry Kaufman, drawing upon the work of Maslow, and the chapters I’ve just read really resonate with your post. I think Maslow would have embraced the wisdom of the Tao so very well.

    Your last paragraph is so powerful and for me the ulitmate truth. I came to looking at life from the aspect of mortality, as you describe, a few years ago, and it makes such a difference to well being and purpose, helps you make decisions, not to mention maintaining a healthier perspective, and being kind. Of course it is a work in progress, but I embrace this philosophy as much as I can now. Thank you for the post, Bryan.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I am so grateful to know that you see the power in that concept. (“Transcend” is a great book!) I find myself pointing to this state of mortality more and more in workshops and in talks. It’s one of those dynamics that is so obvious and yet painfully hidden by so many aspects of our modern society. I am so happy you have this important insight. It’s changed my life. Do take care of you and all you love my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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