Is there something more obvious than the constant change of all life’s phenomena?
No need to look too far to grasp the concept of impermanence, from the invariable cycle of the seasons or even the natural growth of our own body…
It becomes quite clear that nothing last… neither the sunny days nor the comfort of youth, like the day rises, shines and diminishes as soon as we are born to this life we are in a process of decay, each moment rising is passing away at the same time, the seed of impermanence is entangled straight away from our very birth.
Looking at impermanence is to look at our own mortality.
But we are keen to forget and behave like we own the future instead of celebrating the present…
It is a little intimidating to face this ultimate truth and to accommodate oneself with it, we might be reluctant to re-member our mortality persisting on holding our right to life.
If only we can invite an attitude of acceptance and cultivate a little bit more surrender in our daily life, it will blossom with more stability, helping us in the making of a peaceful mind.
It is said that there are two levels of impermanence:
1. Gross—change of matter happening over long periods of time.
2. Subtle—inner changes of mind and invisible changes of matter happening in the shortest part of a second, the rising and passing from moment to moment.
Our mind cannot perceive subtle changes of matter happening at the particle level; it can only see the gross changes from day to day, hour to hour. From the obvious to the more refine nothing escape the law of impermanence.
If we can remember impermanence and death, we have the understanding to prevent the arising of negative state of mind such as greed, ignorance, hatred, pride, jealousy and so forth… cause of discomfort, suffering and confusion.
Facing the shortness of the human life unfolds on enough discernment, appreciation and insight towards it, to somehow ease those unwholesome states of mind.
It is most important to acquaint oneself with this self-evident principle, by doing so we are blessed with a sense of deep freedom a sense of timelessness, by embracing impermanence we touch the very core of our existence, some people are so fearful of death that they are afraid to live, yet there is a beautiful truth to apprehend by accepting this process of constant change.
This remembrance is greatly useful at the time of death, contemplating it on a daily basis transforms death as an ally, and offers a substantial tool to ease the mind from the fear of letting go, embracing this final stage with peace at heart.
“Life is the companion of death, death is the beginning of life. Who understands their workings? Man’s life is a coming together of breath. If it comes together, there is life; if it scatters, there is death. And if life and death are companions to each other, then what is there for us to be anxious about?” (Daoist philosophy)
Meditation of course is one of the most reliable practices to embrace, in order to cultivate a healthy bond with impermanence, however the practice of Yin-Yoga is also of tremendous help.
The Yin energy ultimately is an energy of surrender, acceptance and letting-go…
It is with this mind-set and heart quality that the Yin-Yogi approaches the mat, accepting everything, holding onto nothing attitude, as we hold the position for longer time; three to five minutes often we come across discomfort, Yin-Yoga prepares you to stay with intense or unwanted sensations that arise, learning to cultivate an equanimous response towards the present moment.
Whenever we start to feel stress or tension building in our system, we will try to divert our attention to the breath awareness and the heart center cultivating relaxation and surrender, combining meditation and Asanas.
For Patanjali, Ishvara Pranidhana or (surrender) is a potent method for dissolving the endless agitations of the mind; it is also the step where attentiveness describes the practice.
Clearing the way and allowing oneself to harmonize responses with what “is”, rather than using our energy to compete against what is inevitable. As we let go of our willful need of reacting to discomfort, we learn to poise the moment, allowing transformation to take place or at least the possibility of a different approach or attitude.
As Aitken Roshi, modern Zen teacher said “Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of this world, but accepting that they pass away.” (Aitken Roshi)