Understanding Impermanence: Solution to Suffering

Impermanence is an intrinsic nature of Life. Suffering comes when you try to keep things the same when they are constantly changing.  

You were once a small baby, then you went through adolescence and experienced adulthood. You had lots of energy in your youth and could run around all the time, but then, as you got older; you started to shrink a little, and your energy level started to decline, and wrinkles and gray hair began to show up. No matter how much you colored your hair, and tried to remove your wrinkles, you could not stop the aging process. 

If you look at nature, you will see that nothing truly stays the same there too.  Look at the trees. Once they were only seeds, but they become tall and big. Here in Sedona, the trees are around 300 years old. When I went to New Zealand, I found that they had old kauri trees that are 3500 years old. But someday, those trees will also disappear.  Even when you receive beautiful, brilliant, colorful flowers from loved ones, when the time comes, they will age and turn brown. 

Even what people choose to believe changes. For instance, people believed that God sent thunder because he was angry. They thought the rumbling and cracks in the sky were a punishment. We no longer believe this because of scientific advances. 

How about your family? No matter how much you love your family, there will come a time when they will leave the Earth. I learned that nothing is guaranteed to stay the same when my parents passed away. My suffering came from not accepting the impermanence of our physical life.

Impermanence In Today’s World 

When the COVID-19 pandemic happened, it also changed our environment, and it led people to different circumstances. Thousands of people have become unemployed, given only part-time jobs, and all front liners started working thrice as hard. It has changed the way people socialize too. For example, you may now be using messaging apps to communicate with your colleagues and friends, as opposed to meeting them face to face. This situation that shifted your life is caused by impermanence

I find it crucial to talk about impermanence because it’s very timely. We want to keep things we used to have. We can relate to this, too, as we hold on to the idea of what we want but get frustrated because we can’t do what we want. As a result, it makes us suffer. Suffering and pain come from wanting to keep things the same. The sadness and loneliness from not being able to change our situation have been intensified because of this pandemic. 

We feel fear of the unknown. We feel more anxious because the virus is invisible. We are frustrated that we have to be at home. We wonder what will happen financially if the pandemic continues for many more months.  We feel as if this situation is going to last for a long time.

We have three major desires, namely, the desire for control, security, and recognition. These desires rule our physical existence  With the situation we are in, we feel more fear than before because this pandemic is triggering these desires.  

But, despite what’s happening right now, I want to tell you that nothing stays the same. You may not have challenges in your life right now, but I guarantee you that your situation will change. Nothing in history remained the same.

A Short Meditation

Trying to control or impede change is something that you cannot do. But, what you can do is to awaken to a brighter state of consciousness, which is your divine nature. Awakening to your spiritual nature allows you to change your willingness to accept change. It will shift your consciousness, and in turn, it will shift civilization and bring peace and harmony to the world.

I suggest you do this reflection meditation.

To begin, close your eyes and breathe in and out. By breathing, you will begin to observe what is happening inside you. You may feel anxiety or nervousness as you start meditating, and that is okay. Then, observe what’s happening around the chest area or the chakra area.

As you continue breathing and observing your thoughts and emotions, reflect on what has changed with you over the years; from your babyhood, childhood, adulthood, and up to the present moment. When you do this, you will realize that you’ve changed a lot physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.

As you reflect on your life over the years, you may either feel sadness, confidence, a sense of accomplishment, or other emotions. I want you to be aware of all of them.

With this COVID-19 situation, ask yourself what are you facing? Observe the feelings that are coming up. What kind of emotions are you experiencing? Anxiousness, fear, sadness? Whatever it is you’re feeling, be okay with it.

And as you experience these different emotions, tell yourself, “Everything changes. Life is changing all the time. I am shifting and changing. I surrender to that change, and I accept it. Resisting will only lead to suffering. If I accept this change, I will see myself more clearly. I will see that I have the opportunity to create something. I accept the situation that I am in now.”

Then, slowly breathe in and out. Appreciate being here right now. Convince yourself to keep accepting changes, even if you feel anxious about them. Then, open your eyes.

Accept Impermanence—Be Happier

The sole purpose of this meditation is to help you accept impermanence and change. In this place called Earth, we are always evolving, shifting, and learning from each other.  As we do that, we can create a better world for everyone.

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