I seem to be permanently contemplating impermanence.
Whether we are on the meditation cushion, observing sensations arise and pass away; or noticing the changes in our day-to-day lives; or discussing the challenges of mergers with corporate managers; or witnessing world events, it seems, that yes, impermanence is here to stay (perhaps except when it comes to electing the President of Italy).
It is those phenomena, people, projects, possessions and places that we become attached to, which are uncannily designed to offer us the rich lessons of impermanence and deficiency.
As my coach (and accountant) reminds me, there is loss...but there is also something else.
Each of us is cleverly equipped with physical, psychological and spiritual resources to ensure that we can integrate our disappointments with an in-built ability to grieve, heal, learn and let go.
Drawing on Richo’s (2007) suggestion, a practice we can adopt, relates to flowers we may display. Do we discard them as soon as they show signs of wilting, perhaps when they lose their colour, their perfume, or when they are just less perfect than when we first bought them? Or are we prepared to keep them in the vase, long after they are withered, and witness their decay? By doing this simple thing, we can contemplate each phase of a flower’s life – from bud to death – deepen our acceptance and appreciation of life’s cycles, and expand our sense of impermanence to acknowledge there are beauty and gifts to be found in each phase of change, not just one.
The anniversary of Dad’s sudden passing away is coming up. I will buy some beautiful spring flowers at Campo de’ Fiori... and I shall leave them in the vase.
Image: own photo of flowers at Campo de' Fiori (Roma)
Richo, D (2007), The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know, Shambhala Publications Inc, US (pp 114)