Monday, December 6, 2010
Impermanence Transformation Change
We think we allow life to flow and change but honestly we want many, many things to stay the same. We know each day is a new day, that we cant stop the sun from rising and setting or the seasons from changing, but it's in our own life where we tend to have trouble. We don't mind our health, relationships, work, and other such things changing, but only if they get better. It can be very difficult when things get worse, yet it is change that allows the good things to happen as well. When our kids grow up they may get hooked on drugs or drinking, get their hearts broken, get injured or even killed, but the alternative is troublesome as well. If they never got past childhood they couldn't take care of themselves or others their whole life. Those aren't people, they're pets! The seasons are a good example too, as the cycle of life would collapse if spring didn't lead to summer, fall, and winter. Impermanence is central to Buddhist culture, as it is one of the Three Great Truths along with Emptiness and Nirvana. Emptiness doesn't mean we are are a void, rather void of individual existence, being intimately connected to all life and creation (Inter-being). With Nirvana, literally meaning "unbinding," we find freedom as we release attachment to things, concepts, ideas and so on. This is the same freedom we find by releasing attachment to wanting things to stay the same, to be static, solid, and unchanging. My favorite image lately is the caterpillar, a big, fat, and gluttonous, crawling along on its belly until a transformation occurs and it becomes a beautiful new creature flying for thousands of miles sipping the sweet nectar of fruits and flowers. Each of us has that same opportunity no matter how low we crawl to make changes, find our beauty and fly to new heights through our own metamorphosis.