This post is inspired by a chapter from Jack Kornfield’s No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are.
There is a river flowing very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. —Hopi blessing
Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things. —Pema Chodron
The Buddha taught that everything is impermanent—flowers, tables, mountains, political regimes, bodies, feelings, perceptions, and consciousness. Without impermanence, life could not be. —Thich Nhat Hanh
We cannot find anything that is permanent. Flowers decompose, but knowing this does not prevent us from loving flowers. In fact, we are able to love them more because we treasure them while they are still alive. If we learn to look at a flower so that impermanence is revealed to us, when it dies, we won’t suffer.
We think impermanence makes us suffer, but what makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent. Impermanence can teach us to respect and value every moment and all the precious things around us and inside of us. When we practice mindfulness of impermanence, we become more aware and more loving.
If we practice mindful living, when things change, we won’t have regrets. We can smile because we have done our best to enjoy every moment and to make others happy.
When you get into an argument with someone you love, close your eyes and visualize yourself 100 years from now. When you open your eyes, you will want to acknowledge how precious we all are. If we nourish our insight into impermanence every day, we will live more deeply, suffer less, and enjoy life more.
Come back to square one, just the minimum bare bones. Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time. That is the basic message. —Pema Chodron
Notice that each moment is different.
Every in-breath is a new moment.
Every out-breath is a new moment.
Our experience is a sequence of moments,
each one brief, each one rising and falling away.
How do you personally react to change?
Do you feel a resistance?
Are there things in your life that you are holding on to,
things that you want to be permanent?
Maybe stories about what has happened to you
things other people have done to you
how they have wronged you.
Stories that make others responsible
for your happiness or unhappiness?
What would happen if you allowed your stories to change
and view the people and situations in your life
with new eyes and an open heart?
Letting go of old stories
Letting go of old wounds
Being fully present now
Engaging with the next moment, whatever it is
Allowing change into our lives.
What would that be like?