Anitya: Life is in constant flux.
Anitya or “impermanence” means that life as we know it is in constant flux. We can never access the moment that just passed, nor can we ever replicate it. As each day passes, our cells are different, our thoughts develop, the temperature and air quality shifts. Everything around us is different. Always.
When we are feeling especially uncomfortable, the concept of impermanence can be, paradoxically, comforting. In other words: if nothing is permanent, we know our pain will pass. But when we are experiencing joy, the idea of impermanence can be incredibly fear-inducing.
If we accept the idea of impermanence at face-value, it can be incredibly liberating. In the West, about 100 years after the Buddha expressed this idea, Greek philosopher Heraclitus mirrored the belief when he famously said, “You can never step in the same river twice.” All we have is the present moment.
How we can use it in our everyday lives: Celebrate the idea of change. Accept that everything is constantly changing. It’s kind of amazing, when you just think about it! And even when the idea of impermanence might feel scary, it helps us appreciate everything we are experiencing in the present: our relationships, body, mood, health, the weather, our favorite shoes, our jobs, our youth, our minds. So let’s savor those moments we do enjoy and know that the ones we don’t enjoy will pass.
Peace and Love, Jim