Impermanence

Our ego relies on mooring in the constructs it has created to deal with the fact that very little is within our control – which often means we diminish uncomfortable reminders of mortality.

When we are confronted with the stark nature of impermanence, we feel unsettled.

Ego wants everything we love (or at least everything we’re accustomed to) to last forever.

Ego wants to feel substantial and solid, with no surprises.

But this is in contrast with nature and existence itself, which is a constant cycle of change, degeneration, death, and renewal.

This is so hard to stomach and surrender to… but releasing our resistance and accepting the inescapable (change, aging, illness, and death) allow us to become active participants in our fleeting, precious lives.

Dukkha

The First Noble Truth in Buddhism is dukkha which means “difficult to face.”

This refers not only to the suffering that is an inevitable part of life, but also to our uncomfortable emotions and troubling thoughts.

Too often we take detours – we avoid, deny, numb, repress, or lash out rather than live in the experiences and feel the feelings that cause us fear and pain.

If we summon the courage that is inside all of us, we can remain open and curious about what our emotions and mental loops are trying to tell us, and we can face life itself in all its unpredictability and impermanence.