If we want to live fully, it is wise to keep an awareness of impermanence and death by our side. By seeing deeply into the fleeting nature of life, we naturally feel an enormous sense of appreciation for what we have. We don’t take things, or people, for granted any more.
So often we live our life as though it will never end. We hurry through our moments instead of really living them.
The Fleeting, Precious Nature of Life
But if mindfulness teaches us anything, it’s that if we really pay close attention to each and every moment then we are constantly reminded of the ever-changing, fleeting and precious nature of life.
As we observe life in meditation, we see change happening moment by moment. Each breath fills the lungs on the inhale, then it disappears on the exhale. Our thoughts arise from stillness and then dissolve back into stillness. Emotions come and go like the weather moves through the sky. We hear sounds coming and going.
Holding all of that in a compassionate and gentle awareness, we’re reminded again and again of the impermanent nature of life.
From Gripping to Gratitude
And we see also that no two breaths are the same. No two thoughts are the same. No two moments are the same. Every single event is unique, every single moment is unrepeatable and will never be lived again.
And although this awareness of impermanence might be confronting or frightening when we first encounter it, in time it brings us a sense of freedom and inner peace. When we understand that everything changes we don’t grip on to things so tightly. Instead we experience a greater appreciation and connectedness with life, a oneness with it.
Putting What Matters In Perspective
Death and impermanence also put things in perspective and remind us of what really matters. So we might find ourselves letting go of a lot of the distractions in life, a lot of the problems, ruminations and fixations in the mind. Suddenly they just don’t seem so important any more.
So if we can remember this, if we can hold this awareness of impermanence close to our hearts in life, far from being a dark or heavy thing to carry with us, it actually brings a great sense of lightness, vitality and love into our lives. So that’s the invitation and the practice for the week ahead.
This Week’s Invitation: Hold Impermanence Close to Your Heart
See if you can notice impermanence and hold it close. Let it be your teacher and your guide. Let it remind you of the miracle and preciousness of this day you are living today. This day that will never be lived again.