The second law of thermodynamics states that given a constant state of energy and matter (the universe), the amount of usable energy will decrease until the universe devolves and complex structures decay until the system reaches a state of complete disorder and stillness. In other words, according to science, at some point in the distant future the Universe will be in complete chaos until it goes completely dark. On the other hand, we have the concept of life, which constantly strives to put chaos into order and continually strives to recreate it.
This struggle between the physical devolution of systems and the creative nature of life oftentimes appears in our lives as the destruction of what we know and creation of something new and better. In shamanism, this is known as going through the “dark night of the soul” and emerging “into the light”. It is the natural order of things. This is also known as the “roller coaster” of life and the pendulum of polarity. We experience life as a cycle for a reason, it is the way life works. Things destruct (2d Law of Thermodynamics) and things are recreated (life).
In various cultures this is represented by various means. In the east, the cycle of yin/yang is constantly flowing from one state into another. It also is reflected in the concept of reincarnation, in which a physical being comes to a state of stillness (death) and is reborn into another physical being (life). In Hinduism, the god Kali (the destroyer) comes to dismantle all that is an illusion to allow what is real to be revealed. I am sure that all of this is intellectually interesting, but what do these concepts have to do with John Q. Citizen?
The first thing to realize is that life and experience moves in predictable cycles. These are not random, they are dictated by the interplay between physics and life. On the one hand the universe is devolving into randomness and on the other life is evolving to God. These may actually be the same thing on higher levels. In any event, we constantly go between pleasure and pain, happiness and fear, birth and death. The question should be why are we always resisting the natural order of life and physics? We don’t want things to change, but they must. We must learn to accept it all. When we are in pleasure, enjoy the pleasure, but know that it will eventually cycle into pain. Enjoy the pain because we know it will cycle back into pleasure.
Beings with higher consciousness tell me that life can be managed, and with proper discipline and thought control we can minimize the pain and maximize the pleasure. Even higher beings, like Buddha, will tell you by letting go of desire we can eliminate the cycle of pleasure and pain and experience constant bliss. This begs the question of whether you want to give up the cycle of pleasure and pain. I seem to relish both the intensity of pleasure and the intensity of pain. I certainly have experienced my share of both.
I am at that point in life that I am watching my father die. He is old, he is not well and he is tired. He is resisting going to the next adventure because he is afraid of the unknown. It is the resistance born of fear. I completely understand his angst, I am going through my own angst of watching him go through his final stages. I also am going through the angst of living in a world that has cycles of pain and pleasure, life and death and light and dark. I pray to God to ease my father’s suffering and to give him peace. I pray to God to ease my suffering and to give me peace. I pray to God to ease your suffering and to give your peace. All of this is to say that I have great compassion for all beings because I know it is a scientific certainty that we will all experience what my father is experiencing and it is also a scientific certainty that we must embrace change. And if we do not embrace change, we will suffer change. That is our choice and what is known as “free will”. If there is anything we have a choice about, it is whether we suffer. Embrace the light, embrace the dark, embrace pain, and embrace pleasure. Seek the divine who can through grace help us rise above it all. And may all beings be happy.