Everything that arises passes away

I spent last weekend in the Redwoods of Northern California. Nowhere is impermanence so obvious as in the forest. Dead branches line the pathways and new seedlings sprout up to take their place. Hillsides and paths are constantly changing. Nothing is ever the same.

I was sitting along the creek in the picture above, writing in the sand. It only took a minute for the wet sand to fill itself in and my words to dissolve. I created them. I watched them pass away. But because I knew my creation was impermanent, it didn’t bother me when I kicked in the sand and they disappeared.

The problem with impermanence is not impermanence itself, but our clinging to the idea that things should be permanent when they aren’t. If you start out with the understanding that your creations (your life, your relationship, your world) will dissolve eventually, you can enjoy them more in the moment.

Don’t look at impermanence as a negative reality which we must all accept through gritted teeth. No. Impermanence is what makes life possible. If everything stayed the same, nothing could survive. If the tide only came in, we would all drown.

In the process of ebbing and flowing, arising and passing away, is where we find the beautiful experience called life.

4 Responses to “Impermanen–”

  1. Beautiful, Andrew! What an amazing place to write. Thanks for bringing us right there with you in this post.


  2. Impermenency seems nice in theory. Then I got hit with it and it was terrifying. The practical effects of impermenence are no fun. We’re built to move towards permanence and stability. Impermanence may be the way to live but stings. haha only when one experiences a lot of impermanence, can we learn to embrace it.

    how the heck do you spell that word by the way?


    • Oh yes, so much easier to talk about than to experience. And I don’t think it’s all bad to follow our intuition of building things that are stable. A stable relationship, or home, or whatever is a good thing to have, we just gotta recognize that it will never last forever.

      I-M-P-E-R-M-A-N-E-N-C-E :)


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