One thing that happens as we contemplate different phases of life (cycles of birth and death) is that we to distinguish what changes from what is changeless.
By totally inhabiting any memory that has potency, we can sense and feel our former self.
Our former mind with its habits, preferences, relationships, activities and responsibilities. We can glimpse the profoundly different ways we have walked on this earth. Different lifetimes all wrapped into a continuum – a constantly changing unfolding.
In moving through these different phases using our inner vision, we can also see what hasn’t changed.
We can clarify the real.
The awareness that it is all happening in. Out of which all of it comes. Into which all of it dissolves. In seeing what changes, we are able to clarify what we fundamentally are!
The blank screen behind the moving images. The sky behind the clouds and weather patterns. The awareness behind the many selves.
As we take refuge in the real, two things begin to happen:
Fear diminishes. Form becomes less frightening. The sense that what is real can be hurt or destroyed diminishes. The sense that our identity needs constant reinforcement and defending goes.
Hope diminishes. We lose the sense that what does or does not happen at the level of form can save us for fulfill us in some kind of ultimate sense. We stop putting so much pressure on people, places and things to make us happy and fulfilled. This does not mean we stop relating. It means that we see things for what they are (impermanent). Paradoxically, this makes connecting with & enjoying people, places and things much easier.