this too shall pass

The second round of vipasanna was one of the hardest things I believe that I have ever done in my life. Never has the phrase “this too shall pass” resonated in me more than it does now.

There is a concept of “annicha” that Goenkeji talks about in his discourses. Everything is in constant motion; nature, animals, us, even the walls that surround us in our homes. Our minds just aren’t subtle enough to pick up on it. Everything is impermanent. Everything.

This idea of impermanence is semi-easy to understand. It is a concept that we learned in physical science back in 8th grade along with other Newton Laws. I even remember watching a science cartoon (nerd alert, I know!) way back when about this idea, and remember them proving this fact that everything is in constant motion. As simple as this idea sounds, and as simple it is to “understand”, it’s not exactly an easy concept to fully experience or realize. We are constantly looking at the gross, and change is something that isn’t always received well.

Permanence. This idea of being stuck, static. When you think about it from this angle, it sounds a little ugly. Who wants to be stuck? Static? Continuously in the same place as before? I know that I don’t. And the cool part about it all, is that we’re not. You can never step into the same river twice, because the river is constantly flowing towards the ocean, and because of that flow, you are always going to be surrounded by new water coming from the source. And just like the river, we too, are constantly in motion, in constant change. Sure, it may not seem like it from the physical, external shell that we see each morning in the mirror, but think about all of the internal changes that are going on inside of you at this very moment, the next moment, and the next one after that. Really, you are not the same person every day you wake up. On a more physical level, you definitely aren’t the same person you were 1 year ago, 5, 10, 15 years ago, otherwise you’d be stuck in a period of infancy or being a child or even worse, being stuck in your preteen appearance. Who wants to face that agony on an everyday basis?

We are constantly changing. We are impermanent. Dr. Lad gave a really good example in class last week, similar to this concept. Our blood cells last about 108-120 days (Ayurvedically speaking). But every time they “die” do you turn around and mourn their loss? Probably not. And although this example can be taken a little bit morbidly, what is the essence of what it is saying? There’s an attachment issue in this world. A stickiness. And classically speaking, raag/dvesh (pleasure/dislike). And this runs our world. Attachment.

If we can begin to realize that everything is impermanent, that even the strongest storms that create the hardest sorrows, pain, and hurt, that they don’t last forever, maybe we can start minimizing this attachment, whether good or bad. Attachment isn’t just to things that you enjoy, but to things that you dislike as well. If we can start peeling back the layers and figuring out where this is actually coming from, maybe we can be one step closer to figuring ourselves out, because at the end of the day, everything that we see around us, externally, is all just a reflection of what is going on inside of us. It’s really not you that is making me upset, but it’s me that is making me upset.

I’m realizing more and more everyday, that this path I’ve chosen, this path of wanting to seek truth as it says in my bio, as I have set intentions for, as I have began to revolve my life around isn’t easy. At all. It’s even harder than vipasanna, and I didn’t even think that it was possible. To truly be happy, to truly live a life with purpose, to truly live a life filled with love and compassion isn’t easy. At all. It takes a lot of work, and boy am I realizing that now more than ever. Even when I’ve figured out the root cause of a problem I’m having, figuring out what to do with that, is really confusing.

We create more and more layers around us every single day. It’s time to start clearing those layers away. Those layers, too, are impermanent; it takes a lot to see that.

One of our teachers in class said something that really struck a chord with me today. “Even a raindrop will find the ocean one day.” We’re not stuck. We’re not static. We are constantly changing. And one day we too will find the ocean.

 

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