To start out with the perspective of: “this is mine and I don’t want to lose it” is a sure way to create suffering and worry. The reason this brings so much anxiety is because you never truly own anything, so it is futile to try protecting what you don’t even have.

It doesn’t take genius to understand that you cannot really possess things. They could die, get lost, or be stolen. You can only have stewardship over things for a period of time. Even your own body will one day die and return back to the dust – you’re just borrowing it from the earth for a few years. Nothing will last; not the relationships, not the money, not the possessions, not the health.

This fact might seem depressing on the surface. But remember: when do you most strongly recognize the value of what you have? When itʼs gone. See that you can never own anything, and everything you have will become a gift to enjoy while it lasts. Let go of your need to possess and you will find immense joy in the things you have right now.

Take a relationship for example. Many people think that they “own” their significant other. They say things like “you’re mine” or “I don’t want to lose you.” This leads to two negative outcomes: 1) you spend all your time anxiously trying to keep what you think is yours and 2) when you finally wake up to the fact that your relationship will not last forever, it creates a great deal of suffering. How much different would that situation be if each partner recognized that their relationship could be over at any moment, and accepted the time they do have together as a gift? Their love would reach a whole new level.

Notice the transitory nature in everything; learn to love the clouds simply because you know they will soon blow away.

[Note: This is the first in a sunday series of short meditations for a more peaceful life. At the end of the year–or whenever I’m done–I’ll compile a eBook and make them all available for download.]

Image Credit: JasonJThomas

2 Responses to “Love the Impermanent”

  1. Andrew – thanks for your thoughts on impermanence. I used to be a big impermanence guy until I actually faced it and my world turned upside down. We are resistant to change and shifts. Sometimes it takes a tornado to shake us up and help us practice the lessons of impermanence. Before I was on the titanic (one of the sole survivors haha) now on a sail boat riding the winds. :)


    • Yeahhhhhh it’s a whole other thing to actually experience it in a way that shakes your world. But, you kind of must face it in order to find out if you really understand what you’ve been practicing. Great analogy about the boats!


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