The Rhythm of Life

by Fernando Perfas

|   Photo by Chris Keats on Unsplash

Innately, humans have attuned to the most fundamental cycle of nature or the universe: the beginning and the end. . . alpha and omega. A thing arises and then disappears. This is true from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic levels of existence. The span of moment between arising and passing may vary, infinitely measured in yoctoseconds (the shortest time span) or eons of years. Nonetheless, the cycle is immutable. The human psyche is intimately connected to this rhythm of life from the dawn of time. From the moment humans walked the earth, they developed rituals to celebrate the cyclic flow of nature. We can discern such an understanding of this natural law in all cultures or civilizations, and even today, we participate in many of these celebrations. Surprisingly, we don’t even think about them nor ask why.

The ancient scripture of the Hindus called the Vedas was written somewhere between 1500 to 1200 B.C., and they include a cosmological description of the cycle of creation and destruction. The creation period is called manvantara, lasting an unimaginable span of time followed by dissolution or pralaya. Similarly, the Judeo-Christian Bible speaks of creation and the ultimate end of the material universe as we know it. Believers of these faiths can claim that Higher Beings or a God inspired the writers of these scriptures. What is certain is humans wrote them. The overarching theme in both scriptures is that all things that come to being will ultimately end, and a new cycle starts again. And when we delve into other ancient civilizations like the Babylonians or the Mayans, we notice the same cyclic understanding of the universe that inspired them to create amazingly accurate calendars to chart the movements of the cosmos and record its history.

“Every year, we celebrate the old year’s passing and welcome the new year at the end of the cycle of days. We celebrate the coming of a newborn and equally mark in funerals the passing of life. Such is the rhythm of life and the natural law that governs our existence.”

Indeed, we live and operate with the inner knowledge of the cycle of life. Every day, we witness the rising and setting of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the rising and falling of tides, the coming and going of the seasons, etc. Every year, we celebrate the old year’s passing and welcome the new year at the end of the cycle of days. We celebrate the coming of a newborn and equally mark in funerals the passing of life. Such is the rhythm of life and the natural law that governs our existence. It is an awesome force that we don’t dare go against. Instead, we organize our lives and activities around it.

Humans have adapted to the natural cycle of almost anything with a beginning and an ending. They have developed an acute sense of when to mark the beginning of an event and equally recognize when it ends. This is how we maintain a sense of balance or harmony with nature. It throws us off when we oppose or fail to recognize or accept that an inevitable ending has come. We experience psychological dissonance like a spurned lover who refuses to accept a rebuff and continues his futile pursuit. We use our judgment to discern if something has truly come to its end to allow the dawn of a new beginning. What is often needed is a good grip of our inner and outer reality to guard against the onslaught of delusion, to which many of us seem to be predisposed.

As a child, our grasp of reality may not be on solid footing yet, and we view the outside world as something that should bend to our whims. As we mature, acquire more experience, and chase our dreams, we realize that everything we build from scratch will one day tumble down to the dustbin of history. Some may never reach psychological maturity and come to grips with mortality. Others become driven by acquiring material possession as a source of power to try to bend the cycle of life to their wishes. Woe to the man or woman who fails to come to terms with the cycle of birth and death and misses the endless possibilities of “dying to be born again.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR  Dr. Fernando B. Perfas is an addiction specialist who has written several books and articles on the subject. He currently provides training and consulting services to various government and non-government drug treatment agencies regarding drug treatment and prevention approaches. He can be reached at fbperfas@gmail.com.

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1 comment

Roberto M Reyes /AKA Bobby M. Reyes September 6, 2021 - 10:42 am

Thank you, Dr. Perfas, for your exemplary dissertation on “the rhythm of life and the natural law that governs our existence.” — to borrow your words.
As for me, my elders (beginning with my parents) and my mentors during my 12 years of education in Catholic schools always stressed Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
Here is a reproduction of it, as lifted American Standard Version:
(3:1) For everything there is a season, and a time for every [a]purpose under heaven: (2) a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; (3) a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; (4) a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (5) a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; (6) a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; (7) a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; (8) a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
My Dad, however, always said that the “time to kill” is only for soldiers in times of war — in defense of the Motherland. I hope to pass on what I learned in my life (and counting) to my seven grandchildren and my great-grandchildren. Hopefully, I can include this instant column of yours (with your permission, of course) in a coming book about the “Reinventing the Filipino Psyche.” You are welcome to be my co-author.
P.S. I am sharing this column in my Facebook Timeline.

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