As much as you may want things to stay just as they are, embracing impermanence is one of the healthiest things you can do.
This isn’t to say that you should cast a dark cloud upon every good moment in your life because it won’t last forever. By all means, soak them up!
But keep in mind that permanence is an illusion. No matter how hard you may butt up against this fact, that is the reality.
Impermanence Is Guaranteed
Everything is always changing. Always. From your emotions, thoughts, and feelings to the cells in your body. Sometimes changes are for the better and life is going your way. That’s wonderful!
But it won’t last. Not in the exact form, at least.
The fact is that you’re growing old. We all are. And chances are you’ll lose at least one cherished person in your lifetime. You may soar with the happiness of marriage and then later experience the disappointment or devastation of divorce. You may become financially secure or suddenly lose a fortune.
There’s no way to be sure.
What you CAN be sure of though is that you’ll experience impermanence throughout your entire life. And it will pop in whenever it wants with no concern about your schedule. That’s a guarantee. So it’s essential you learn how to go with the flow if you want to ensure any kind of peace. Otherwise, you’ll exhaust yourself by resisting and swimming against the proverbial current.
How You Can Start Embracing Impermanence
If you were born into the Buddhist tradition, you’d have learned long ago that clinging to a false sense of permanence is the ultimate source of suffering. We’re going to assume, however, that you were not born a Buddhist. (Or at least a practicing one.)
In fact, this may be the first time you’ve really ever considered the idea of embracing impermanence. Because if things are going well, why would you want to invite change?!
As counterintuitive as it may sound, embracing impermanence is one of the best ways to let go of attachment, fear, regret, and conflict. It all starts by being open to the present moment – that pinpoint (and forever fleeting) moment of NOW. When you dwell in that space, you grow your ability to make deeper connections with yourself and the people around you.
So where do you begin?
1. Cherish Each Moment
What is happening at this exact moment for you? It might be something that sparks joy for you. Or it could be that you’re feeling irritated or on edge. Whatever the case, it’s not permanent.
Whatever relationships you have right now, whatever your occupation is, however you’re feeling physically or emotionally, they’re all changing. There’s nothing you can do to stop this. But what you CAN do is appreciate every moment you have.
One of the natural offshoots of practicing impermanence is the enhanced ability for gratitude. You know that your time here is finite. So by committing to cherishing each moment, you’re bound to make the most of them. Whether that means spending more time with people you love, engaging in an activity that makes you happy, or helping others who do not share your same good fortune. They all bloom into gratitude.
2. Love Without Attachment
There’s love – that all-encompassing warm and fuzzy feeling that reminds you how wonderful life can be. And then there’s attachment.
Although attachment is often confused with love, it’s actually quite toxic. Attachment has the component of grasping. With attachment, there’s an unwillingness to let go out of fear of losing. For example, clinging to a relationship that no longer serves you out of fear of being alone.
Any time you attempt to doggedly preserve something, you’re working from attachment. When you work from love, there’s an understanding that things change – for better or for worse – and an acceptance of that. This lessens or even eliminates the shock of disappointment when those inevitable changes occur.
3. Allow Yourself to Grieve
Of course, it’s completely natural to grieve a loss. And embracing impermanence doesn’t imply you’ll feel no sadness or disappointment. It does mean, however, that you’re less likely to remain stuck in the ‘shocked’ phase of your loss. Especially when the loss comes as a big blow or happens very suddenly.
Rather than endlessly walking around in a grief-induced daze unwilling to accept what has happened, you’ll be poised to grieve and then move forward with your own precious life with a newly found appreciation for the moment.
You understand implicitly that this is how it works.
4. Remember, This Too Shall Pass
It’s human nature to want comfort. And when you find it – whether emotional, spiritual, or physical – you may be inclined to think you’ve finally arrived. How many times have you thought, “Everything will be smooth sailing from here on out,” even when you knew full well that it wouldn’t be?
The beauty of embracing impermanence allows you to recognize and be grateful for these good moments because you know they won’t last. But it works on the flip side too.
Because when we do experience a change for the worse and times become dark, we know that this is also not permanent and that this discomfort shall also pass. And there’s great solace in that.
5. Carve Out Some Time to Meditate
By meditate we don’t mean donning a saffron robe and scoping out the nearest damp corner of a cave where you can gaze into your navel. (Though if that’s your thing, far be it from us to stop you.)
What we ARE suggesting is that you take this notion of embracing impermanence and simply sit with it for even just a short time each day. Reflect on what gives your life purpose and what brings you peace and invite them into your existence.
Through this simple daily act, you can commit to bringing a new perspective to your life.
Are You Feeling Stuck?
Even though you may already understand that clinging to permanence only intensifies the suffering of loss, you may feel overwhelmed about where to start the practice of embracing impermanence.
Fortunately, we offer mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation to help move your mind into this new way of thinking. Plus, our life coaching services will enable you to take control of your decisions and pursue actions that will keep you moving forward.
So contact us today to get started on getting unstuck. And remember, this too shall pass.