Buddha saw that we cling passionately to our loved ones. And if they die, we can be in mourning for the rest of our lives. Their physical presence is gone. It is not coming back. And we loved them so much, the world looks dimmer and more hostile because of their absence. Who will love us now? Furthermore, this is going to happen to us too. Every cell in our body has changed or been replaced over and over again as we grow, age, begin to weaken, and finally disappear.
This realization causes enormous pain and fear in people and they obsessively fight all the changes: Plastic surgery, large accumulations of wealth beyond what anyone could ever spend, fanatical dietary practices, rigorously dangerous exercise routines, and hoarding all kinds of material goods to hedge against an uncertain future.
The past is not bringing any consolation to our minds in this swirl of change, either. We remember our beloved persons or pets who are gone and the sadness begins again. The recollection of the past, with all of our family sitting together during the holidays or our pets curled up in our laps, underlines the vacuum they have left as the world continues on its inexorable path of transmutation.
An so Buddha told us not to be in denial about this. If we don’t face it, we will be in a constant scramble of trying to keep things the same. And we will always be uncomfortable. We will go through life kicking and screaming over things that are not in our control. We will try to cling, but it will all slip out of our hands. Therefore, we must let it go, let it be the change that is a constant, and follow the Buddha’s suggestions in his Four Noble Truths and The Noble Eightfold path. He gave us a to get out of our misery. If we really adhere to what he presents, we will find a way out of this endless suffering due to clinging to what is constantly changing.