impermanence

Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself

“Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself, to make friends with yourself, to not run away from yourself, to return to the bare bones, no matter what’s going on. Fear of death is the background of the whole thing. It’s why we feel restless, why we panic, why there’s anxiety. But if we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship, one that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death.”

~ from the Pema Chodron book, When Things Fall Apart

Knowing vs feeling (impermanence, attachments, desire) alvin October 11, 2019 - 8:48am

For a long time I thought it was enough to know about something spiritual, but it wasn’t necessary to feel it. For instance, I’ve known about impermanence on an intellectual level, but to experience it in your bones, that’s the difference between a finger pointing at the Moon and the Moon itself. Robin Williams spoke eloquently about this difference on the park bench in Good Will Hunting.

Another topic is desire. There’s a Buddhist monk vow that says, “Desires are endless, I vow to conquer them all.” I’m not a Buddhist monk — I dropped out of monk school because of things like cookies, margaritas, sex, and love (not to mention pain) — but recently I had the very direct feeling of desire, and it finally occurred to me that if I don’t get past it, it will still be affecting my life in 2020, 2024, and if you believe in multiple lifetimes, I’ll still be dealing with it then.

It blew me away that this feeling is thousands of miles beyond simply knowing that I have that desire. For me it’s like the distance between (a) knowing that there are glaciers in Alaska vs (b) being right there and seeing and hearing the calving.

Editor’s note: “Desire” can be cookies, margaritas, etc. — anything where there is “want” with attachment.

Gone, gone, totally gone, totally completely gone

“There is always a Netflix to your Blockbuster. Nothing is static. Keep learning, or face the consequences.”

That’s a good quote from this Twitter link. It reminds me of the text in The Heart Sutra that says, “Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha.” I read once that the first part of it can be translated as, “Gone, gone, totally gone, totally completely gone.” That reminds me of Blockbuster.

How to balance impermanence and desire (to live)

I thought this was an unusual Q&A on LionsRoar.com, but the more I thought about it, it may be helpful to people trying to understand mindfulness, impermanence, life, and death, so I thought I’d share it.

FWIW, I went through the near-death experience several times last spring, and this quote from the article pretty much sums up my feelings these days:

Whenever I get nervous about anything these days I say to myself, “What’s the worst that’s going to happen, I’m going to die again? Been there, done that.”