Impermanence – the Good, the Bad & the Ugly.
A Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, once said “you can never bathe in the same river twice”. He said this, inferring that everything changes, the river you step into now, is not the same river you step into even one second later.
Buddha, I can only guess, would have agreed, and probably would also have pointed out that the You that steps into the river now, is not the same as the You that steps into the river a minute later. The river has no permanence and neither do You – in fact, nothing has permanence.
The BAD: This can sound gloomy to some; we strive to hold onto our relationships, our health, our situations, our possessions – but none of it is permanent; eventually, all of it will decay and dissolve. If this sounds a bit gloomy – let’s consider the Good aspects …
The GOOD: If everything is changing (including ourselves) then every day, every minute, provides us with opportunity to embrace a new way of being, a new way of seeing, a new way of doing. This is exciting. By understanding that nothing is permanent, we learn to embrace the possibility of change – and that is one of the reasons why life is such an adventure.
Every time we hit the mat – indeed, every time we perform a sweep, an escape or an attack, we are a little different, a little transformed, from the moment before. Every time we practise a technique, we should be open to seeing it differently and understanding it a little better. Change is good – this is how we learn. Whenever we learn something, the neural pathways in our brain change slightly. And every time the neural pathways in our brain change, we are open to seeing things in a different way; impermanence is at the very heart of change, growth and development.
The UGLY: The only Ugly part here is the way we tend to marinate ourselves in negative feelings when we really don’t have to at all. The realisation that nothing is permanent and everything changes makes it a little easier to accept things as they are, and not as we think they should be – and a little easier to live in a state of peace with ourselves and our fellow human beings.
Live well …