How realising the impermanence of things can help us focus on what is truly important.
Hello fellow Protagonists,
"All good things come to an end", sounds like someone is trying to deflate your balloon, burst your bubble or even worse, make you a cup of tea with milk before the water (Heathens). When we delve a little deeper this saying is not as negative as it may initially feel.
It can be positive to be reminded of the impermanence of the things around us. One day what we know and have will cease to be. This includes our possessions, those around us and even ourselves.
What we cannot be sure about is how long anything lasts before that point. This enables us to appreciate these things as they arrive as we don't know how long they will be with us for. It could be decades or it could be a single day.
If something was permanent it would be harder to show gratitude as we have never known any differently. Has anyone stopped and shown oxygen some love recently? There will be aspects of our lives that we have never known to be different. That is when we may be taking what we do have for granted unless we intentionally stop and focus on them.
If all good things can come to an end so can all bad things.
Impermanence doesn't differentiate between the good and bad. The darkest hour is just before the dawn and we don't know when that is until we get there. We can't see that dawn is lurking on the horizon but we know it will come.
It may feel like it at times but could you imagine a world where nothing ever changes. It would be like watching a repeat of the same show over and over (also known as the morning news). I for one am happy to sacrifice the permanence of the good to allow the same rules to govern the bad.
Even when we turn the meaning of impermanence on to ourselves and our own eventual end, this again can be used in a positive manner. It may sound crazy at first but it depends on the type of focus you give it.
Memento Mori in Latin means "Remember that you must die". If we all will die at some point then we delay things at our own peril. We may be putting things off for a day that will not come. It is a reminder to enjoy every day we are given, to take opportunities as they come and not worry about trivial problems if we weigh them up against what really matters.
It can be understandably difficult for people to discuss death, especially about our own demise. My wife has introduced me to some of the vlogs and books from Caitlin Doughty. She has a phrase "death positivity" which encourages people to be more open when speaking about death and to influence people away from denying death.
The more open we can be about the impermanence of ourselves and those we love, the more we can share and hopefully reduce any anxieties we may have, ensure we do what people truly wished for when they do die and to be more involved and there to support people throughout the whole process of dying, should it arrive. I highly encourage you to check Caitlin out.
Some may say "What is the point of achieving anything if we all are going to die anyway?" The impermanence of situations can be used to support our goals and the view we take on achieving our goals rather than render them pointless.
We can all agree that it is great to have goals. Even if we achieve our goals, that does not mean they will stick around forever. This would also suggest that it is not the end of the world if we do not manage to achieve our goals despite our best effort. Keep the motivation to achieve but realise that outcomes are never permanent, as nothing is. Other opportunities may present themselves down the line or maybe not. We may reach our goal and lose it the very next day. So make the most of it.
The achievement of some goals go way beyond us as individuals and can continue to support people long after we have left.
"Don't take life too seriously. you will never get out of it alive" - Elbert Hubbard
Bonus points for getting that the heading is from a Queen song. The final part of that song is:
Who wants to live forever?
Forever is our today.
Who waits forever anyway?
Eternity, or forever, is not found in the future as the future is only an illusion or guesswork at best. It is in the realisation that eternity is found in the present as all things eventually fade to make way for what is to come.
We already know this, every decision we make in our lives is because of this knowledge.
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