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Day 62

Affirmation:

I accept that all life is in a constant state of flux.

I accept impermanence as an inherent part of living in the natural world.

I do not cling to life, people, things or experiences.

I understand that everything is impermanent and eventually gives way to something else.

I deeply appreciate my life and its holdings while they are present, knowing they can change or cease to be at any time.


A core tenet of Buddhist philosophy is that humans suffer when they cling to that which is impermanent.   The Buddha taught that liberation from suffering can be found by living in a state of non-attachment, which is realized when impermanence is understood to the true nature of the phenomenal world.  Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike can benefit from this simple understanding.  Impermanence tells us that all things of the world are in a constant state of change and that anything that originates is subject to cessation.  Impermanence is easily understood when thinking in terms of death and decay, but circumstance and choice can also create endings.  I once witnessed a young mother become inconsolable when her toddler broke a glass bird she’d had since childhood.  The child was punished and made to suffer for his age-appropriate accident.  She cried for hours, and talked about the incident for weeks.  Everyone around her suffered for the loss of this little object.  The incident was extreme but a beautiful example of how we cling to objects.  We also cling – or attach ourselves – to situations, jobs, events, lifestyles, such that when they change or end, suffering ensues.  Perhaps the form of attachment that creates the most suffering is our attachment to each other.  Relationships are wrought with attachment.  Parents cling to children who must grow up and move on, and many a divorce lawyer has filled his coffer when one spouse clings to another who seeks change.  But when we embrace impermanence we understand that life has cycles, that relationships may end, and that items break or are lost.   Non-attachment does not mean de-tachment.  It means appreciating the thing, person and experience in the moment, with an acceptance of the reality that the only certainty is change.  Accepting impermanence has the ability to instill a deep and meaningful reverence for what exists now, a true presence in life’s moments and promote a greater passion for living life fully.  Just as the tree sheds its leaves seasonally and the caterpillar becomes the butterfly, so too are we and our lives a part of the natural reality of impermanence.

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Day 139

Affirmation:

I am not afraid of death.

I embrace death as a change, not an ending.

When others die I mourn the illusion of our separation but rejoice in their return Home.

                        ______________________

Death is an illusion.  It appears to be an ending, but it is no more than a transition, a change.  For those who leave the physical, that transition is a joyous Homecoming.  For those on their way however, it can be wrought with fear and apprehension.  It’s believed that more than 20% of the population of the United States fears death.  Fear of death can be so consuming, it inhibits living.  Those in the midst of the transition from physical to non-physical can cause themselves undue suffering if they are afraid, clinging to their physical forms longer than necessary.   Returning to the non-physical is a graduation, one that has often been hard-earned.  We can greatly enhance our own lives when we release our fears of death, but we can also enhance the experience of the dying when we let go our sense of finality and celebrate their transition.    

We do not die, we transform.

 

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