Thursday, January 20, 2005

Meditating on Impermanence

It occurs to me that today is a very good day for giving attention to the reality of impermanence. Contemplating impermanence can serve as a focused reality check and will be experienced as both consoling and empowering. And so I give you another excerpt from How to Meditate: A Practical Guide by Kathleen McDonald:

[C]onstant change is the reality of things, but we find it very difficult to accept. Intellectually, it is not a problem; but real acceptance of impermanence rarely, if ever, enters our everyday behavior and experience. Instinctively, we cling to people and things as if they were permanent and unchanging. We don't want the nice person or the beautiful object to change and firmly believe that the irritating person will never be different.

We cling especially strongly to our view of our own personality: "I am a depressed person," "I am an angry person," "I am not very intelligent." We might indeed be this or that, but it is not the whole picture nor will it always be like that; it will change.

By not recognizing impermanence we meet with frustration, irritation, grief, loneliness and countless other problems. We can avoid experiencing them by becoming familiar with the transitory nature of things, recognizing that they are in a constant state of flux. Gradually we will learn to expect, and accept, change as the nature of life.

We will understand not only that change simply happens but also that we can bring about change. We have the power to change what we are, to develop and transform our minds and lives.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:43 AM

    "We have the power to change what we are, to develop and transform our minds and lives." I keep thinking about that last line. With full acceptance of such a concept comes incredible freedom, power, and responsibility. Imagining the limitless possibilities of embracing such a beleif is awesome,humbling, and down-right scary for the impact it could have on me as an individual, and on the community around me. After all, nothing happens in a vacuum. I will have to think on this one some more.


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