Permanent. Unchanging. Eternal. You could argue these three attributes are absent from our human experience on earth. I believe the gradual realization and internalization of this fact results in a natural desire to hold-on to things. Early in life we are care-free and relatively unattached. Our parents provide for our every need. Shelter, health and friendship are seen as unalienable rights. Soon enough we realize material objects are not always with us. Somewhere along the way something gets broken, lost or stolen and we decide we need to cling to what's left, lest it happen again. Naively, we embark in a lifelong process of material wealth accumulation. On this journey we discover some people betray, leave or simply die. We cling to those who remain. Eventually, our youth and appearance start to show signs of deterioration and decay. In this age of plastic and cosmetic surgery, miracle diets, gym memberships, online dating, orthodontics and manicures we fight tooth and nail to try to retain these assets we had hereto taken for granted. Battle after loosing battle we fight to keep our health, our mind... our life. In a last-ditch attempt at perpetuity we start working on our legacy: the arguably flawed notion that if we do something important and people remember it, a part of us lives-on. But, why should anyone care to remember (and for how long, if they do?). Eventually, this fragment of rock, water and air we call the planet Earth will be swallowed-up by the shadows of the cosmos. Human power and might, fame and glory are, after all, fast-fading flashes of dim light.
Ultimately, the fallacy of clinging to wealth, health and self lies in the fact they are not ours to begin with. We did not choose to come into this planet and we have no control over whether we leave it (and no, you can't take the trash and trinkets you've accumulated with you when you go). We are so preoccupied about everything that happens in-between, yet our attachment to these things only serves to imprison us. Don't get me wrong, things can (and should) be enjoyable, however, it is the act of trying to cling to them, instead of experiencing them, that traps us. The more things we hold-on to and carry with us, the heavier our load gets. Eventually the pile gets too big to carry. We are pinned-down by our attachments until we are willing to let go. It is ironic that the our attempts to master our experience are the very things that enslave us. Enslaved by our desire for permanence. Enslaved by a false perception of what drives freedom. The simple truth is the more things we cling to, the less freedom we have. Freedom comes when, after realizing all things must pass, we stop clinging to them and we start enjoying them. To be free we need to leg to. The pursuits of pleasure, property, possession and power for their own sake are shackles that bind us. Short-lived attachments at best; at their worst they are deadly illusions that prevent us from living to our true potential.
This Friday morning, I would urge you to enjoy the fleeting, transitory and corruptible pleasure of a sweet donut melting in your mouth, never to be seen, felt or tasted again. Delight in that brief experience and then be content in the fact that it happened. OK, perhaps that was a little too deep for a Friday morning, however, as donut boy today, I don't think I'm out of line reminding you that if you cling to a donut too long (say, a few days), it gets crusty and hard... enjoy the donut mix I've purchased for you (3 dozen Krispy Kremes and 2 dozen LaMar's) while they're still fresh.