Impermanence

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Gestures of Balance  Tarthang Tulku, Dharma Publishing, 1977.

“Impermanence is the essence of our human condition.

It controls more than just our lives; it holds sway over the entire cosmos- all the stars and planets, as well as our earthly environment..

But the most devastating change in human life – death- always catches us by surprise.”

“In this society, almost everyone is afraid of death- but to appreciate life fully, we have to face reality. Impermanence and death are integral parts of being alive; this realization can vibrate within us and wake us up.. we see that although our lives are very dear to us, they do not last forever.

To be born a human being is a very rare privilege, and it is important that we appreciate our lives and take advantage of this opportunity.

With an understanding of impermanence, many aspects of life that one ordinarily finds fascinating, no longer seem so appealing. We become able to see through them and find that they are not actually that satisfying.

We can then more easily let go of our attachments and fears, as well as our own little shell of protection. Thinking about the impermanence of our life wakes us up; we realize that at this very moment we are actually alive”

 

“Still there is struggle, for we find ourselves wanting things that we know will cause us pain or frustration. Our habit patterns are very hard to break, and even when we try, obstacles always seem to appear- our desires and attachments push us to repeat the same destructive patterns.

Our emotional needs habituate us not only to material things, but very subtly to our self-identity. We do not want to lose our sense of control over ourselves, our environment, or even over other people. But until we let go of our attachments to personality and self-image, it is difficult even to see these life patterns, let alone to change them.”

“Instead of wasting our energy and human potential in useless thoughts and actions, we begin to act constructively, for the basis of the spiritual path is the development in ourselves of what is truly balanced, natural, and meaningful.

We can begin by accepting each moment and enjoying it, but most of us don’t know how. Enjoying life may be extremely important to us, yet too often when we experience pleasure, our minds project the satisfaction into the future, so our lives become filled with empty dreams that never materialize.

It is difficult to truly accomplish anything in the present when our minds are always oriented toward some future goal.

This does not mean that we should avoid making intelligent plans for the future; it only means that we must live more fully in the present.

When we endeavor to develop ourselves in the present, we will grow toward our future goals until they are accomplished. The present naturally leads us to the future, and the future changes according to how we live in the present.

When we are confident in whatever we do, and all our actions are meaningful, then not only our daily lives, but our future lives as well, will be balanced and harmonious.

When we open ourselves to our present experiences, we can realize that right now we can enjoy our lives… right now we have the opportunity. We do not need to be too concerned with the future- the present will lead us there no matter what we do.” p.8

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