Buddhism teaches that all of human existence is transient, or in a constant state of flux and uncertainty.
This is a deeply difficult thing for westerners to wrap our heads around. Because it punctures our illusions of immortality. It flies in the face of our obsession with omnipotence. It stomps all over our desperate and fateful urge to try to make things permanent.
And so, all this medicine, technology and innovation that’s supposedly helping us live for a hundred years, what if it’s all just another denial of death? What if it’s all just another rejection of the only reality there is?
Levin’s award winning essay on impermanence makes the case perfectly.
Believing in a permanent self is like believing in a permanent rainbow. And this goes for everything, too. Not just the self. But all that the self occupies.
Our goal should be to stop fighting impermanence and start learning to flow within it. And to trust that if nothing lasts, that means we can better handle whatever suffering is happening right now.
Koppleman’s astounding screenplay about the destructive power of addiction comes to mind. Laney, a family woman who takes too many drugs and sleeps with too many strangers and disappears when she wants, makes one last desperate attempt at redemption. And as her husband tries to console her, he says this.
Everything beautiful, every moment of beauty, it goes away. Fades. But then there’s another one, and another one, and another one. And you just have to be alive to see it.
Perhaps understanding our circumstances to be temporary can inspire hope in each of us.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much of your suffering stems from your resistance to impermanence as a ruling law of the universe?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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