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Impermanence: Change With It

The day after Thanksgiving is now recognized as “Black Friday” and given the status of a holiday. It is a day dedicated to the celebration of the Holy God of Discounts for those who revere consumerism. As with all other days of exaltation and worship, it too will come to an end. For me, Thanksgiving ended too soon this year. It ended before it even started. As soon as Halloween ended, Christmas became the focus of our American Culture, and I realized that Thanksgiving was largely being skipped over. Thanksgiving is a holiday that has been transformed into a signal for the coming of Christmas. I am one of the minority who value it as a gathering day, a day that is still dedicated to the oral tradition of sharing with others the valuable gift of life in all of its happiest and most tragic moments. The holiday helps all of us remember where we came from, and remember what we value as most important, in both the individual and collective form. Thanksgiving’s status as a highly prioritized holiday is slowly dying.

Imagine a world where all life is everlasting and nothing ever comes to an end. Every human born, everything sprouted from a seed, all vegetation, every animal and every insect would live forever. I submit that planet Earth would no longer be the planet Earth at all, it would be something more similar to Anti-Earth. The cycle of birth, life, death and decay that gives nature the opportunity to give birth again would not exist. It would be an Earth of no tomorrows and no yesterdays, life would not be worth living. There would be no legacies and change would slow to millions of years.

Fortunately, for us, life is impermanent. Every aspect of our existence is temporary: the fact that all matter manifests a temporary form forces us to value it in all of its forms. But it’s not just life that is temporary; all experience and all relationship, all achievement and all failure, all construction and all collapse are temporary. Life in all of its forms is impermanent.

How many times have we awakened in silence and wondered if the silence would end? At the same time, we have wondered if the loudness and chaos of a busy life would also end. We have all experienced infatuation, that episode in our lives when a woman or a man demands all of our attention because our feeling of significance, and importance, to another seems to be at an all time high. Fleetingly, our projections of what life should be are in accord with our relationship, only to later find that those attractive characteristics unfold into a distasteful and unsatisfying experience. I think all of us fall in love with, and love, an independent spirit until we have a need for that independent someone to help us in our troubled time, and they are not there for us. They are too busy being free to take a moment of time to lend us a hand. All feelings are impermanent.

I have personally set goals and achieved most of them. And when I do, I set new goals, higher ones. My purpose for continuing is to achieve more. But achieve what? Achieve more of myself; find the inner me before it fades from existence like everything else. All of my sacrifices are forgotten over time, and all that remains is the stark reality that everything I have accomplished is impermanent. It all fades into a loosely bound historical storybook that is shelved in my brain; I access the memories every so often as a futile attempt not to forget what I had experienced some time ago.

We don’t have the option of staying the same, regardless of our happiness or pain. Health is fragile, it has a delicate balance and our ego constructions are extremely susceptible to persuasion. Truth changes with the circumstances that surround it and someone’s personal bias can create a sense of havoc or desperation within us in a moment’s time, most times without warning.

Illness fades away. It may fade back into health or it may fade into more illness. Most severe illnesses have a beginning, middle and end. Unfortunately, some diseases end in mortality. Life is impermanent. We all want to stay well, vibrant, energetic and relevant. But the truth of the matter is that every aspect of our lives is impermanent including love and apathy, lust and hate, security and fear, productivity and stagnation, and energy and fatigue. Each impermanent flip of a coin gives us a life experience that will eventually end in another impermanent flip of a coin.

Enjoy today, it will not return in any fashion. Thanksgiving will more than likely become a holiday to give thanks to the season opening of Christmas shopping. The idea of the holiday being associated with the pilgrims and their journey to the new world will one day be very ancient history, perhaps a lost history with layers and layers of dust hiding its true meaning. Find something or someone to love and when it’s no longer satisfying, find the courage to flip the coin and enjoy something else for awhile. To create illusions of permanence, when all is impermanent, is to live your life out of accord with the entire rebirth of our planet Earth and all nature. Energy may never be created nor destroyed, yet energy changes all the time. If all of us would change with it, we’d be much healthier.


Posted by Katie Reed at 11:34 AM
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