There is a buddhist term ‘Annica’ that I have briefly discussed before. It defines the impermanence of reality.
It implies that the world is constantly in flux. That everything in your life that arises, will eventually pass away. If you can understand and integrate this philosophy into your life, you will have no further problems.
We live with a constant worry somewhere in our minds. Fear of failure, fear of people, fear of death, and much more. Just about every aspect of life, carries with it a trace of worry. But we weren’t born that way, so why do we take it upon ourselves to battle the matters of life. Worry is like a slow poison, constantly sapping away the quality of your every moment. Transcending this worry reveals endless peace.
From the second you were born, you began to create an image of who you are; Ego. Like a pebble rolling down a snowy mountain. At birth, our identity is the size of a tiny pebble. As soon as we are old enough to grasp self concept, we begin our journey down the mountain. We associate traits and skills with ourself in reference to the response of the outside world. Simultaneously, suppressing those traits that the outside world looks down on; The shadow.
Each trait we associate with ourself, is a layer of snow added to the pebble. As life goes by, the snowball — our identity — grows. This identity may bring a sense of purpose and a feeling of importance. But, it is also responsible for the misery we experience. For our worst and best actions are only feeble attempts to live up to, or surpass our image. Even an act as noble as kindness is still the egos way of satiating its hunger for recognition and identification.
It is not until you begin to unpack these layers of snow, that you will ever experience true joy. True satisfaction with nothing but the present moment can only exist without desire, and to dismiss desire completely, we must have no self concept.
However, that is impractical. For whatever reason, you became a human. So it is your duty to fulfil your role as a human — to contribute to society —, but this role is often filled with an unfair amount of suffering. To limit this suffering, we shall not dis-identify completely, but merely enough to prevent clinging to the physical world. Because as “Annica” states, the physical world is impermanent and your clinging only brings suffering.
Instead of clinging to good things and running from bad things. Remain transparent towards both. Let each experience flow through you without judging it. This is easy once you understand Annica.
Be like the willow tree in the storm, not the oak. For when the gale force winds come, the oak must stand strong and firm to live up to its identification with strength and stature. Because of its inability to sway in the wind, it gets battered and damaged by the storm. The willow tree on the other hand, remains flexible and transparent. It has nothing to prove, it lets go of form and moves with the wind. As a result, it stands unscathed when the storm has passed.
Let go, let go of circumstance, let go of judgement. Accept everything. This does not mean you cannot seek change. That would be ignorance. Do seek change, but seek it from a place of acceptance towards the present moment. Do not take action out of fear or desire. Take action out of compassion. Compassion for yourself and compassion for the world.
Relish the good moments, but do not crave when they vanish. Seek to transcend pain and suffering but do not fear their appearance.
Nothing lasts forever.
“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realise that nothing really belongs to them.”
― Paulo Coelho