FRom 2/22/10, an excerpt from an amazing article:
When you deny the reality of life, you appreciate it less. Meditate on the Buddha’s Five Remembrances and rediscover the magic of life just as it is.
By Frank Jude Boccio
You can also get used to the concept of impermanence by listing things that have changed in your life over the past month or two. Perhaps a difficult posture has become easier, or an easy posture is now challenging. Perhaps a problem with a family member has resolved or grown more complicated. You’ll be hard-pressed to find something that hasn’t changed!
STEP INTO THE PRESENT
Again, facing the truth of impermanence shouldn’t depress you; it should free you to be fully present. It should help you realize that the freedom and inner peace you seek are already here. When you really see that all things change, your grasping and clinging fade under the bright light of awareness, like the stains in a white cloth bleached by the sun.
If nonattachment sounds cold and unappealing, you may be mistaking it for indifference. It’s the experience of attachment, based on the denial of ceaseless change, that is lifeless. Life without change is a contradiction in terms. When you’re attached to something, you want it to stay the same forever. This attempt to “freeze-dry” elements of your life squeezes the vitality out of them. The practice of nonattachment allows you to enjoy life wholeheartedly in its very passing.
Through your attachments you create mental manacles that bind you to the limited view that life is your life, your body, your lover, your family, your possessions. As your insight into impermanence deepens you start to see the truth of the “no-separate-self.” When you can extend beyond the limits you’ve created you see that your life is not really “yours” but all of life itself manifesting through you.
As the Buddha tells us: “When one perceives impermanence, the perception of no-self is established. With the perception of no-self, the conceit of ‘I’ is eliminated, and this is nirvana here and now.”
The Five Remembrances
I like this version of the Buddha’s Five Remembrances, offered by Thich Nhat Hanh in The Plum Village Chanting Book (Parallax Press, 1991).
I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.
I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
Frank Jude Boccio (www.judekaruna.net) is the author of Mindfulness Yoga. He teaches yoga in New Paltz, New York, and leads Mindfulness Yoga sessions throughout North America.