As we prepare to make the seasonal shift from summer into fall tomorrow. Mother Nature reminds us that nothing stays the same. The season's and life are not permanent. Things are always changing and evolving. Our practice can help us to accept these changes with a little more ease.
That everything in life arises, lasts for a while, and then dissipates is a foundational truth. Things are always in process and are constantly changing. Even if that change is so slow that we cannot perceive it in the present moment.
Forgetting that change is constant and all pervasive is the source of our pain and suffering.
We want the things that we like to stay the way they are and to stay with us, forever. We grasp on to our pleasurable experiences, chasing them anew as they come to a close. We expect the vegetables in our fridge to stay fresh. We expect that the things we own will never get old and break down. We expect the people we love will stay just as they are. We expect to conquer disease or aging in our own bodies, or in the bodies of those whom we love.
When these expectations are inevitably unmet, pain and suffering arises. We get angry, frustrated and upset.
We can strengthen our resilience when it comes to each of these small scale reminders of impermanence by wrestling with life’s greatest teacher of impermanence, death itself.
In the Buddhist tradition, meditating on death is a foundational practice. By remembering that our own life is fragile, precious and limited, we allow ourselves to truly live.
The following is a brief version of a classic meditation. I have recorded the meditation for you, if you would prefer the guided version.