I learned yesterday of a remote village in Africa where the women decorate their huts beautifully with swirling designs made from natural dyes and mud. Each year when the sun has baked them dry and they have cracked and the rain has come and half washed them away, they clean the surface off and begin again. A new design for a new season. So beautiful is their art that tourists now come from far and wide to see it, but many are saddened to see the temporary nature of their endeavours and have begun insisting that a way should be found to make them permanent.
One woman of the village commented with a smile and a shake of her head "they are so interested in their little forevers, but we are endlessly creating."
I just love that. And thought how it applies on so many levels. Aren't we told in so many ways and places that everything is temporary, that the only thing that is certain is change; that our bodies, try as we might to stop them, are changing every day?
Yet we try to hold everything still and firm, preserve it all and push against the natural flow and cycles that are all around us. Western science seeks to freeze our bodies, preserve our brains, and even art, it seems, cannot be understood to be a work in process - and yet it is, as are we.
The Vedas inform us that anything material is temporary - by its very nature it cannot be permanent - and that is a fact. The only permanence is spiritual, and that means the soul, that which, the Bhagavad Gita tells us, cannot be moistened by water, nor burned by fire, nor cut into pieces, nor destroyed by any weapon - why? Because it is indestructible - by nature - permanent, eternal - the one thing that cannot and will not change.
And so that little story reminded me that we would do well to drop the endless questing for little forevers and clinging to what's temporary and set our hearts on the understanding of that which resides within them and never changes - our eternal soul.