Sunday, April 10, 2011

When Was the Last Time You Did Something For the First Time?

Someone posted on his blog an image of an open book with the question "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" in it. I hope that the person who shared it with others asked himself or herself this question at least once.

The paradox of our existence is that everything we ever do we do it for the first and the last time in our lives. Although the monotony of the everyday existence may not be the proof of any novelty occurring in most people's lives, for those who live their lives consciously life begins and ends every time they take a breath. Every yogi, every Zen practitioner, every person who meditates, learns to understand this seemingly paradoxical truth.

As individuals we strive for continuity of our beings. Only traumatic or emotionally intense experiences seem to cause a quantum jump in our psyches. Day to day existence may leave some significant imprints, but the consequences are less dramatic. They are the natural flow of events and usually do not have much impact on who we are inside and out. But is this really the case?

On emotional level, every thought, action or emotion leaves a trace. Every experience leaves a memory. Monotonous tasks reinforce our habits of doing something the same way over and over again. Our convictions and beliefs not only influence our behavioral patterns, but also leave trace in our brains in form of enneagrams. We react emotionally to what we experience and our emotions impact our brain chemistry causing cascade reactions in the brain. The flow of some neurotransmitters is facilitated while others are inhibited by the reaction.

On a molecular level, the constellation of chemicals in our bodies is ever changing. Ingested nutrients influence the pH balance and the chemistry of our bodies. Millions of cells die every day in our bodies making space for new ones. We are constantly changing. The skin renews itself every twenty one days or so. The stomach lining renews itself every four days. Thousands of neurons in our brains die daily and yet we wake up every day with the same bodies.

On a quantum level, we are bodies of energy where nothing ever stays the same as the particles oscillate living no trace of who we were only a tiny instant earlier. This concept is rather difficult to grasp, but the Eastern traditions explored it without any knowledge of the quantum physics. Thinkers such as Leibnitz, Heisenberg and Bohm understood the profundity of the Eastern thought and weaved their theories around it.

Everything arises and ceases at the same time and yet we have the perfect illusion that there is an unbreakable continuity of our being. This illusion is a necessary device for us to retain sanity in the world out there. But the world is changing constantly. The same processes that govern our existence govern the existence of other beings. Everything is in a constant flow. Everything evolves.

Look at the Nature, for instance. The park you entered this morning on your way to work is not the same one you entered yesterday. Thousands of changes happened over night - some probably more evident than others... 

Because of everything that already happened to you today, you are not the same person you were yesterday. You may not even be aware that you have changed. And yet, you are a new being walking through a park that you have never entered before. The park you remember from yesterday is not there anymore. This by no means is a wordplay. It is a  reality that makes life so much more intense and worth living. Remember though, the wasted moment will never come back. And you will never be the same again.

By Dominique Allmon


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When Was the Last Time You Did Something For the First Time? by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.