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  • Impermanence: How It Liberates Us

    One of the most prominent messages of Buddhism is that everything is impermanent; that all of us are dying, minute by minute, and that all conditions are also changing from moment to moment.

    Most of my life, I’ve always hated that idea. When I would hear the word impermanence, I’d think of all the people I love, and that they could be taken from me in the next instant. I would feel the quicksand shifting beneath my feet, and I despised that feeling. I would still like to pin down all my loved ones in such a way that they simply couldn’t disappear from my life.

    But lately, I’ve begun to see the other side of the coin. That is, if everything is impermanent, then some of the most annoying things, things we struggle with, are impermanent too. So if I’m not particularly happy about the holidays coming this year and would like to say, “Wake me up when it’s January,” I can rejoice in the concept of impermanence. So I’m not looking forward to Christmas this year — I’ve had better Christmases and probably will again. It’s not permanent. And even the way we feel during the day — if there’s something we’re struggling with internally — that too, can shift within an instant.

    When seen in this light, impermanence becomes quite liberating!

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