The Evanescence of Life: Finding Our Way


Excerpts from “A Lament…” written by Japanese Poet, Yamanoue no Okura (660-733 A.D.)”

What we must accept as we journey through the world
is that time will pass like the waters of a stream;
in countless numbers,
in relentless succession,
it will besiege us with assaults we must endure…

Precious though life is,
it is beyond our power to stay the passing of time.

Would that I might stand a rock through eternity,
unchanged forever–
but life does not allow us to halt the passing of time.

– translation by Helen Craig McCullough

“To think creatively is first to feel. The desire to understand must be whipped together with sensual and emotional feelings and blended with intellect to yield imaginative insight…Our feelings–our intuitions–are not impediments to rational thinking, they form its origin and bases.” – Robert and Michelle Root-Bernstein, “Sparks of Genius,” 1999

Although I have traveled a bit and been to a number of very different places in the world, there are still many more that I have not seen and circumstances I have never experienced. In my travels, I have met people who know so little, even almost nothing about the world, some of whom really don’t care to know about it either. Conversely, I have met up from time to time with people who know so much more than I do, who have seen more, and done greater things than I could hope to do. While no one usually knows exactly how much time they have remaining to experience life, it seems that I am now beginning to sense more vividly the undercurrents of the spirit at work within me. Having been drawn periodically to individuals who were clearly kindred souls, I have occasionally sensed not only how the spirit is strong within me, but have also sensed the same strength of spiritual connectedness being reciprocated when interacting with them. When there is movement within me, when I have been stirred in profound ways by these interactions, even though I am fully aware that it is active within me at those moments, it has been a mixed blessing, as I have had to endure some fairly intense emotional pain, as well as great joy as a result.


The sense we have of this connectedness to others when we observe or interact with them is partly recognition of potentials and partly intuition. We experience our own abilities and potentials subjectively as individuals and can at least compare ours to others as we go. We recognize exceptional behaviors both in accomplishments we achieve and also in the ones we do not achieve. Many times, whether we are interacting with an exceptionally bright individual or with one who might be impaired in some way is generally quickly apparent, and we often may get an intuitive sense of the character of a particular individual based on our own inner response, and by comparison based on our experiences with others of similar talents. The broader our range of experience becomes, the greater our intuitive responses can assist us in discerning differences between individuals. In my experience, it has often occurred that a powerful response within me is what motivates me to pay attention and to explore such connections.


Intellectual exchanges, heartfelt emotional sharing, the stirring of passions, stimulation of every sort, through the power of the mind, are made manifest in our temporal world of experience, clearly indicating, at certain times, the existence of a potent spiritual connection, particularly when they are the result of intuitive responses, and not specifically as a result of any physical interactions with another. Virtual worlds, long-distance communications, and any number of other challenging circumstances can affect us through the power of suggestion and imagination, in surprising ways. The spiritual energy of our intentions and longings and emotions can stimulate a response in our inner worlds and alert us to their existence in such a way that brings the consciousness of others to us and sends ours outward to them. It’s not simply a matter of stimulus and response. It is a spiritual connection.

image from

In the literal sense, the measurement of time is a human invention, devised to quantify the distance between who we were and who we are. We change from day-to-day, sometimes hour-to-hour or minute-to-minute, but no matter what incremental reference we give it, there is only this moment now–timeless and ever-present. Our finite world on a planet with a known beginning and a limited lifespan may expand someday in ways unimagined by us as a terrestrial species. Other finite worlds, existing within our unfathomably large and seemingly boundless universe, may have developed different natures altogether, based on life cycles far shorter or greater in length and breadth than ours, measuring the passage of what we call “time” by completely different standards. Elsewhere in the universe, although surely held by the same physical laws governing energy and matter, there may exist other worlds where the natural rhythms would seem “worlds apart” from those here on earth. The measurement of time millions of light years away may take a form so completely different that it would fundamentally alter our understanding of it, and perhaps many other human ideas and concepts as well. Our perceptions and cognitive abilities, shaped as they are by the many factors governing our existence in this tiny segment of the universe, can only allow us to imagine what other wonders are yet to be discovered by our descendents as they push further out into it.

Even with all that we do know today, we have only a limited view of the vastness of the universe, and as a result of the deficiencies in our knowledge and in our ability to probe the depths of space beyond earth, we are prevented presently from saying definitively what may or may not be possible, regarding movement within what we refer to as “time.” We cling to the relative certainty of our notions of what life is like here on earth, and function within those constraints with increasing efficiency and advancing technology, and yet, we have virtually no idea of what may exist beyond our known world. While we may eventually come to understand the precise workings of the temporal world, and of our world within us, we can only progress as sentient beings when we acknowledge and explore the connection between the two worlds, and must deepen our appreciation for what we can inwardly experience and acknowledge as subjectively true.

2 thoughts on “The Evanescence of Life: Finding Our Way

    1. Thanks for your kind remarks, Katie. I think it really matters that we think about the important connections between each other…and I’m glad you feel that I was able to inspire some thinking.

      Warm regards…John H.

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