The Joy of Impermanence

Nothing is permanent. A permanent hairdo,  a perm, is not permanent. It only adds or removes curls for a few weeks before you have to get a new one. Perhaps that's why the perm has fallen out of favour, it's not really permanent.

There are many things we consider permanent. The constant state of frozen ground in the north known as permafrost appears to be not so permanent in the face of climate change. The builders who constructed the roof and spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris likely thought it would be permanent. Fortunately they were not around to see their work go up in flames and smoke last week.

Everything is impermanent. Even plastic straws, bags and bottles will eventually weather and decay although the fact it can take a thousand years makes plastic permanent in the time frame of our existence. If we just continue to allow plastics to pile up we will eventually bury ourselves before all the plastics can decay.

Earth is impermanent. There are a myriad of natural and extraterrestrial phenomena that could render the earth inhabitable. That is assuming we don't do the job ourselves which is the more likely end of life as we know it scenario.

At first glance, contemplating impermanence might seem a pathway to depression. But there is joy to be found in impermanence. How dull our days would be if everything was the same. We would live our lives like Bill Murray's character in the movie Groundhog Day, repeating the same routines over and over and over again into infinity. A life of permanence would be inherently dull as nothing would ever change.

Happiness can only be found within the narrow boundaries of the impermanent nature of life. The changes we experience from birth and death provide us with moments of joy and sorrow. Within the precious time afforded us between these two events, we have the opportunity to seek and experience great joy and happiness.

Suffering, loss and sorrow are unavoidable - they are the price of living a loving life, of experiencing joy and happiness. Acceptance that everything will one day be dust provides freedom from worry and opens our hearts to joy and happiness.

Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash 

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