If you wonder about the transience of butterflies, whose average life span is about month, here is news for you. Our life span of 70-80 years, is also fleeting and transitory, in the face of the age of the universe. We are were now, gone then!
We live only once in this corporeal body in this planet earth. We are then gone forever.
Under these circumstances it is important to be aware of the following
There is no heaven or hell, no swarga or naraga. There is no afterlife, there is no rebirth. Also there is neither a soul nor is there an atman.
This life, this existence, is all that we have.
Given this fleeting existence, in this lonely planet, that is lost in the wilderness of space, does it make sense to fret, fume, worry, be anxious etc.? It really does not make any sense at all. The suffering, pain, anxieties, worries don’t mean anything in the long run. So the next question is why worry, why be anxious etc.?
Unfortunately it is not easy to break out of this cycle of worry, anxiety, anger and other negative emotions as we have been programmed to behave in this way. These emotions that we experience are the result of centuries of conditioning in our mental makeup. This conditioning forces to react in a particular ways.
When somebody hurts our ego we get angry. When we are humiliated we feel hurt. When we imagine some outcome that is contrary to what we expect, we start to be anxious and begin to worry. We can’t get away from this cycle. However it is good to temper all your reactions with the thought, that your emotions, worries and anger are irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. It may not do away with the ill feeling, but it is still worth a try.
The centuries of mental conditioning will cause the neurons to fire is specific ways, and we can’t make the neurons to ‘unfire’. We can’t swim against this tide of emotions which are reactions to events.
While there is no soul or atman, these may be useful mental constructs to some in helping them to stick to values. The soul is supposed to be ennobled by good deeds and defiled by bad ones. The atma is above buddhi(intellect), manas (mind) and the indriyas( senses and is synonymous with the Self. Supposedly knowledge of the Self will result in bliss and peace.
But the soul or atman don’t really exist. If one needs to take recourse to these concepts to maintain a value driven life it is fine. But we should be aware that these are just concepts.
I was reminded of this John Lennon song, Imagine
Imagine there is no heaven,
It is easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
So in essence, in this short span of existence we should live sensibly. We need to look at life in the correct perspective and not get embroiled in imaginary concepts like swarg-narag, heaven-hall, soul-atman.
While we cannot avoid some of the emotions we must be cognizant of the fact that all good and bad experiences must pass and we will leave this corporeal frame forever.