So now I know that change is constant, everything is changing. How will knowing this help me?
There are many ways this will help you. One is that you no longer grieve or no longer get stuck to something that has moved and passed off. We know that when there is birth, there is death and, therefore, when one does know that it’s inevitably going to happen, that what is here today is going to be not there tomorrow, you’re completely established in this understanding. Then we are no longer worried about it.
When it is there, enjoy it. When it is gone, you say fine, this was inevitable. So, let it go. So, you’re free on one side from clinging to the past and moving forward. Looking at the present and psychological dimension; this is a very useful thing to remember, especially for the young who have to live a long life. They should not get discouraged with the results of what has happened. Work hard with the objective in mind and if the objective is not fulfilled, often we waste a lot of time and hours worrying about it, fretting over it, getting depressed about it. But, if we are completely convinced that everything will change and what is here is bound to go, then we just let it go. Let go and rejoice.
The Upanishad says: “Move forward to what comes next, instead of clinging on to the image, the negative image of what has been lost. That’s on the practical side. The other is, the moment that we know that everything is constantly changing, the enquiring mind will begin to look for something that is not changing; which means the search for something which, if it exists at all, is that which does not change but is forever constant. That search begins when we understand that everything that we know of, everything that the mind knows of, everything that is conveyed to us through our sense organs, is bound to change.”
The moment we are established in this fact, then the question arises—Is there something beyond this? Is there a changeless component to our whole constitution? And the Vedantic answer is—yes! There is. In the deep recesses of our own consciousness, a substance, when I say a substance, it’s not a physical substance, not a padartha; but rather a reality that is not affected by any of these changes, which remains forever, unchanging.
Now, there is an Upanishad called the Mandukya, which discusses the different states of consciousness: “The Jagrat awastha is the waking state that is common to all of us, in which we experience the world. The Swapna awastha is the state of dream, in which we all dream beautiful dreams and ugly nightmares, again common to all human beings. And then, Sushupti or deep sleep is the state in which we forget who we are, where we are and therefore, have no worries.”
If we don’t know where we are or who we are, we don’t even know that we exist, then where is the worry? Nothing affects us. That’s Sushupti—deep sleep. And it’s because of this that human beings live sanely in this world. When he or she sleeps, everything is wiped out for a while, only to be restored when you wake up. So, there are the waking, dream and deep sleep states.
Now, in the dream state, when you are actually dreaming, suppose there is a dragon chasing you and you run for your life. It is so real, so very real, that even when you wake up, you are sweating and your heart is pumping away. Now when you are dreaming, you would not have believed this, if anyone said that it was a dream. But when you woke up, you found that it is a dream.