In this episode, I’m talking about something so important – impermanence. It’s a big centerpiece of buddhist teaching – nothing is permanent.
In one of my favorite books, 10% Happier, Dan Harris writes, “As best I could understand it, the Buddha’s main thesis was that in a world where everything is constantly changing, we suffer because we cling to things that won’t last.”
Once we understand impermanence, we can decrease suffering.
I think there are two things we can do once we can really internalize and accept that nothing is permanent.
1 – When things are good we can embrace them, love them and enjoy this part of our lives.
2 – When things are NOT going as planned, when life is not good – we can understand, this will pass.
I remember standing at the scene of a crash – looking at the crushed family vehicle and the kids toys and a little boy’s pillow on the side of the freeway. I remember looking at all of these things indicative of any family’s road trip. I thought ‘Yesterday this mom had everything. Yesterday, they had plans for a trip, a routine-family trip. Today she doesn’t have one of her boys.’
I contemplated this. I went over and over again in my mind how this could have happened. One steep hill, one sharp turn and a life taken and many lives forever changed.
I witnessed people’s lives changed in a moment over and over again. It was the signature of news ‘nothing is permanent.’
With this understanding… that life is fleeting – it can give us more gratitude for what we do have now and help us live in the present.
And I’m not only talking about a fleeting life in terms of the physical life, but life as we know it. Maybe it’s just right now you own a house, you have a working car; maybe it’s clean drinking water and a cable subscription or good health or a job.
When we know the things of this life are fleeting, it is easier to find the joy in this very moment.