5.4
March 8, 2022

Impermanence: a Truth that can be Difficult for us to Accept.

Most of us feel uncomfortable with change.

With impermanence.

With uncertainty.

At least to some degree.

We like the known, the familiar; we like to be able to predict and plan and decide.

But we also know the inherent truth of impermanence—that everything changes. That nothing remains the same. And yet, it is a truth that can be difficult for us to accept.

It’s a very human thing to struggle with.

It’s easy to say “change is the only constant” or cite a quote about impermanence and write #truth. It’s another thing entirely to fully embody the truth of that wisdom. To move and flow with its essence.

We cannot force ourselves to “be okay” with change or “to flow” or “to let go.” These things don’t happen consciously. They just happen.

Part of our discomfort comes because we form emotional attachments to things, we develop feelings, and form memories—something which happens unconsciously. Things start to mean something to us.

It’s natural to feel this discomfort with change.

For example, if we are going to move, we’re not just leaving a place or a space or a home—a physical house. That home, that space, that place holds memories for us. We may have certain feelings or attachments associated with it. That place means something to us.

It may feel right to leave, we may even be excited for what’s to come, but we may also notice that we feel sad or scared or resistant to let go because of what we’re leaving behind.

Again, we can’t force ourselves to not feel the discomfort. But we can become aware. We can watch what is happening within us and hold space for it. We can feel the “rightness” of it and also see the parts of us that are attached; we can observe the parts that are clinging, the parts that feel resistant or uncomfortable.

We can watch how we can feel so many different things at once, watch all of these different things happening at once.

We can watch it.

Be with it.

Hold space for it.

And understand it.

Years ago, I struggled to accept that I was no longer friends with someone, who at one time, I considered to be one of my closest friends. Nothing bad had happened—we just drifted away.

But I was struggling with accepting it. I noticed myself thinking things like, how could I let this happen?

Then, when I was out for a walk, these words arose within me:

“I am so different from who I was in college, how could I expect the nature of those relationships to remain the same?”

I instantly softened. I didn’t stop feeling sad entirely, but these words brought a deep understanding to me. Because they were true. I was so different from who I had been—how could I expect those friendships to remain the same?

Change happens.

We change.

It’s natural.

It happens to all of us.

We struggle with change, with impermanence, because we feel comfortable with what we know, and because we form emotional attachments to things. To people and places and ideas and ways of seeing the world—even to ways of seeing ourselves.

And that’s okay. It happens. It’s natural.

This is also natural.

We can’t force ourselves to just be okay or to flow effortlessly or to not have any attachments.

But we can watch. We can observe.

We can become aware.

And we can want to understand.

It is such a natural thing for us to feel uncomfortable with impermanence, even though we know the truth of it.

It is, I think, a human experience, a lesson, we’re all in the process of learning. Something we’re all meant to learn.

The best thing we can do is just become aware. Feel what we’re feeling and just become aware.

Become aware of what we’re thinking and feeling and experiencing.

Watch. Observe. Allow.

Hold space for all of it.

And hold the gentle willingness to understand.

~

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