Accept Impermanence For A Happy Living
Everything is impermanent. That is a well-known fact. But how well do we “know” it? Better yet, how well do we actually accept it?
As a Buddhist I often hear teachings about impermanence. That is actually very important teaching which serves to stop us from clinging to things and people. But it is a bit tricky to accept because somehow, we all think and act as if everything is permanent.
Why it is important to accept impermanence for what it is
After listening to Buddhist teaching about impermanence for two years, I thought to myself what the whole fuss is about that we have to listen to it so thoroughly?
And then as the years went by, life threw many challenging moments which made me realize impermanence and its importance (like losing my best friend for migration to another country, my long-term boyfriend, a job that was well paid and meaningful that I’ve had for 10 years, just to name a few). I had no other choice but to accept the fact that nothing is the same as before. It was hard to find myself at a completely different scenery all of a sudden because life showed its unpredictable face. Impermanence.
I realized that there is nothing else we can do but accept that nothing lasts forever. And when I did, a wonderful thing happened. My life was not unhappy anymore. Losing my friend? Well, I am not clinging to her anymore. I set her free to live her life where she is. We are still friends by the way, but only forced to talk over WhatsApp instead off having regular coffees in our favorite coffee shop. And losing my job? Never felt better, because I found something way more appropriate for my mindset.
Approach to impermanence for a happier living
Impermanence is frightening only if you wish for things to last forever and act as if they will. Then the fear creeps inside and we are no longer happy, fulfilled or satisfied. Instead we start anticipating when this thing or person we cling to will disappear or change its appearance. We cling because subconsciously we approach everything as permanent. But when we realize and accept that nothing is permanent, there is a beginning to a happier life.
Ajahn Chah, a great Buddhist monk from Thailand, said “If you want things to be permanent, you’re going to suffer. Whenever impermanence shows itself, you’re going to be disappointed. One who sees that things are naturally impermanent will be at ease, there will be no conflict.
If you contemplate a bit about these words, you will find that they are actually liberating.
When you look at impermanence, there are only two ways that you can go: one is wishing things will last forever and be unhappy each time reality hits you that it can’t be so, and the other one accepting that everything is impermanent and just live now with what you have, knowing it might cease to exist very soon.
Every time a problem occurs in my life, I say to myself “this too shall pass”. And the darndest thing happens: the problem loses its strength.