In Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Gunaratana provides a chilling reminder of the unseen forces that are, at this very moment, slowly, imperceptibly destroying everything around us:
"Even as you read these words, your body is aging. But you pay no attention to that. The book in your hand is decaying. The print is fading, and the pages are becoming brittle. The walls around you are aging. The molecules within those walls are vibrating at an enormous rate, and everything is shifting, going to pieces, and slowly dissolving. You pay no attention to that either. Then one day you look around you. Your skin is wrinkled and your joints ache. The book is a yellowed, faded thing; and the building is falling apart. So you pine for lost youth, cry when your possessions are gone. Where does this pain come from? It comes from your own inattention. You failed to look closely at life. You failed to observe the constantly shifting flow of the world as it passed by. You set up a collection of mental constructions—“ me,” “the book,” “the building”— and you assumed that those were solid, real entities. You assumed that they would endure forever. They never do."