About 5 years ago, I used to work at an oil field. The contract was 28-28, meaning I stayed and worked at the oil field for 28 days straight and then off for 28 days. I did that for some time and during that time I felt my life had literally become like the saying, ‘living out of a suitcase’. I even kept my toothpaste and toothbrush in the suitcase. I would use it and put it back in the suitcase. Between the job, my family and other travel, I moved around so much that I lost the sense of having a ‘home’. Every place felt like a temporary stop before the next flight. Life was just an un-ending series of flights, journeys.
Now, looking back, I feel that that was such a great lesson I was learning. About transience and impermanence of life. About not having a ‘home’. About my own nature that loved roaming around, that loved being unattached, floating around. And I am glad I experienced that because that experience showed me what I was inwardly, an unbound, detached soul, yearning to be free, yearning to ride far from the crowd.
And that’s how I have come to see spiritual life. I love Jesus’ words, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
I think he was talking about the same thing, i.e., about being detached, not to treat this life as permanent and not to yearn for property or to own a house, all of which eventually prove useless. We work hard our whole lives to buy a house and pay the mortgage. And in the end we leave it behind for others to do with it as they please.
Some teachers have said that this life is like a bridge and you don’t build your house on a bridge. The bridge only connects one place to the other. Its importance is temporary. Just cross over and go to the other side.
That’s how life needs to be treated, as a bridge, as a gateway to something else. But we never pay attention. We get attached to the bridge, to the gateway, and we cling to it for our life.
We start fearing death and we value our possessions and attachments. And these two things, fear and attachments, create chaos in our lives and we spend the whole life dealing with this chaos, till we reach the end of it. And some don’t realize all this even at the end. They die in the chaos. Others realize what has happened and regret not having lived a more aware life.
Very few become aware and when they become aware, they move beyond the polarity of life and death. And when one moves beyond this polarity, then there is no fear, there are no attachments and one actually comes to feel that this life is just another flight. This flight is going to end soon and the next leg of the journey will begin.
There is a let-go of worry and anxiety and a welcoming of a blissfulness which is our original nature.