This month is the official start of summer, and also marks a period of significant change in my life. I’m getting married in a couple of weeks; I recently launched the new business, Firefly; and I will begin transitioning out of my 18 –year career in Human Resources. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the topic that came up in the teacher training I’m currently engrossed in at Prajna Yoga of the first step of the Eight-fold Path of Buddhism, Total View. This first step of the noble path informs the remaining seven steps to enlightenment.
One of the foundations of Total View is impermanence. All things are fragile, because all moments are passing like a river. There is birthing and deathing in everything – including our breath. The realization that everything is impermanent is liberating. We can let go of our fixations; those things that we can find ourselves caught up in such as ideas, belief systems and image of self. Everything is transitory. You can witness this in nature. For example, during Spring, flowers, plants and trees bloom and sprout new growth and leaves; followed six months later by Autumn when the flowers and plants pass and trees lose their leaves. There is beauty in the changing. Without impermanence, life would not be possible.
In the words of Buddha,
“Regard this fleeting world like this:
Like stars fading and vanishing at dawn,
Like bubbles on a fast moving stream,
Like morning dewdrops evaporating on blades of grass,
Like candles flickering in a strong wind,
Like echoes, mirages and phantoms, hallucinations and like a dream.”
When one realizes that everything ceases, there comes an understanding that there is no need to cling to anything. One can embrace what exists now, but also let go. Many of us have thoughts or beliefs that keep us stuck. With this teaching of the Buddha, we can let be what is, allowing a liberated awareness that while things are impermanent, they are part of an infinite vastness. In this truth, we come to realize that all things are possible.