Life is Happening: Impermanence and Non-Attachment
As a practice and observance of impermanence, Tibetan Buddhists have a tradition where they spend days and weeks creating an intricate mandala using colored sand. They are impeccable in their beauty, each part is constructed with care and mindfulness. Each delicate morsel of sand is placed in a specific spot. Once the monks have completed a mandala, they preform rituals and ceremonies. There is a period of viewing,too. After this, the sand mandalas are destroyed. The purpose is to symbolize impermanence and the ever-changing nature of life. The colored sand is disposed of by releasing it to a stream. The mandala is released back into nature, from whence it came.
This is the cycle of life.
Creation. Destruction. Creation. Destruction.
This is the nature of you and me.
Birth. Death. Re-birth. Death. Re-birth.
We are born from nothing. We live. We create. We change. We grow. Parts of ourselves die. Parts of ourselves are re-born. Parts of ourselves are transformed. Parts of ourselves are transmuted. Things come, things go. People come, people go. Life is forever moving, flowing and changing. And one day we die out of this body and the body returns to nature, just like the sand in the mandala.
This is the nature of life. This is impermanence.
How can we live in a way that is in alignment with this nature of life? How can we be at ease with that ever-changing flow, so that we are not rigid, resistant and suffering?
Life is happening now.
Practice focusing on the immediate moment, let life flow, let life be new each day, each moment. Practice letting things change. Let things come and go. Resist the impulse to control or cling to whatever is distracting you from the present moment. Let things die out of your life: old things, ideas, habits, behaviors, people – release it all from your grip, from your being, from your life.
Recognize the deep beauty of this moment, right here, right now. Whatever your situation – it is fleeting. It is here one moment, it is gone the next. Whether it is seen as good or bad to you, let it be what it is. It will soon pass. This way, you can stay at ease, stay light, stay centered and at peace. You can enjoy the fullness of life, the sweet things in life, but you will know that they don’t last. And that makes them even sweeter. You can withstand and endure any pain or negativity in life because you know it to also be fleeting and impermanent. Let it come, let it go. Let it go, let it flow.
Trying to hold life down and force anything to be permanent, perfect and set in stone, will result in pain and suffering. It will result in dis-ease.
Trying to grasp and cling to experiences, people, situations, events and ideas, will result in loss, grief, confusion and upset.
Allow and recognize this perfectly imperfect beauty of life. It’s a dance, it’s a play.
Thoroughly enjoy each moment. Live as though each moment is the best moment. Each moment is the only moment.
Let go of the past.
We are attached to the past. We are clinging for dear life and we won’t let it go.
We think it’s who we are. We think we need it to survive.
Notice tendencies to live in the past, or based on the past. So many of us have a strong attachment to the past that we can’t release. We let it define us, hold us down and tell us what the present or future will look like. We let the past tell us how it is now and how it will always be.
Practice letting go of the past. Practice letting go of what you learned about who you are and what you can do. Release learned expectations that are projected onto what’s happening now or what might happen later. Expectations can be defined as: looking for the past to happen again, whether it is something good or bad. Expectations takes us out of the present moment and lead us to grasp for some other moment. Expectations are suffering and dis-ease. Some say that expectations are down payments on resentments. Practice letting go of the past, let it die. Practice being in the moment, in the space of now. Life happens and breathes NOW. This space is fresh, open and clear. It is a clean slate, open to infinite possibilities.
Practice and observe impermanence and non-attachment by being in the simplest little moment of now. Practice simply being aware and conscious of each moment. Make it a meditation. Don’t try to get anywhere or be anywhere else. Practice holding awareness, be a clear, blank slate upon which the monk’s mandala can rest. Practice being this awareness, this empty space behind the happenings of the world, the events, the life transitions. Hold onto only this awareness. It is the only thing that remains constant. Everything else is ebbing, flowing and changing.
Enjoy life! Enjoy fully. With open hands, open arms, open heart and open mind. Enjoy the natural ease of life: impermanence and non-attachment.
Let go, let flow. Find the ease. Live now.
How do you practice non-attachment? How do you release the past and future?
Let us know, we’d love to hear your experience.