Impermanence

Impermanence 

Pleasure & pain principle

Four season treeMost people assume that things will always be the way that they are.  In fact this assumption is one of the the prime causes of suffering and disconnection.  Whether life feels painful or pleasurable we tend to default into thinking that it will always be this way even though from a more rational or practical perspective we know that it won’t be as everything is always changing.  Yet we are often in denial or oblivious to the fact of the ever changing nature of life.  

Why do we deny the blatantly obvious changing nature of life?  It almost always comes down to not wanting to feel loss of something.  Change means that things will come and go.  Some things we don’t want to let go of because they feel so good to us.  This could be a relationship, a family structure, the state of our body or health, the place we live, some possession we own, a job/career, etc.  We desire it and thus grasp onto it at all cost.  We feel pain at the thought of losing something we love or cherish in our experience.  This is a natural part of the human experience and yet the root of our suffering.  It is also the motivation for our attempts to control or manage all aspects of our life.  This is not only exhausting to us on a mental-emotional level, it also affects the health and functioning of our body.

The other side of perpetuating the illusion of permanence is when we don’t like our experience or what we tend to call pain.  For example we may be in a relationship we don’t want, have a sensation in our body that we don’t like, or dislike our job/career and yet we feel hopeless and like there is no way out or through.  We feel like it is just going to always be this way permanently and we find ourselves trapped in the illusion of solidity and fixation rather than realizing the ever changing nature of life that includes each and every expression and form. 

The uncertainty of things coming and going leaves us feeling like we are tethered to nothing at all and this experience of freedom is too much for most minds.  Minds like to know what comes next and will do their best to create certainty even if that certainty comes in the form of something we don’t want or prefer such as an uncomfortable body sensation, a job that we are over or a relationship that has ran its course.  The thing is that we don’t live in a certain, stable or known world.  In fact we live in the exact opposite.  Our resistance to uncertainty, instability and the mysterious nature of life keeps us trapped in a prison that lives only inside of our own minds.  This prison is home for most and what they believe reality to be.   

Embracing the Comings  & Goings

A gateway to gratitude 

Wave Hollow Inside OutIf asked, most people would say they prefer freedom and joy rather than constraint and suffering, and yet most people choose constraint and suffering without even realizing that it is their choice.  The way that we choose joy and freedom is through fully accepting and inviting in the ever changing nature of life.  By embracing the comings and goings we find ourselves in a perpetual state of gratitude and awe for life rather than attempting to manage and control it.  

Take for example the novelty of a new relationship, job, house or any other exciting thing.  In this beginning stage we often find ourselves elated and what many would name as “in love”.  We are in love because we are not taking anything for granted nor making anything too solid or permanent.  We don’t yet have assumptions about what will occur, as we don’t really know yet.  We have lots of excitement, but not too much attachment because there hasn’t been much of ourselves invested yet.  We feel hopefully for possibilities and yet remain in an open state of being in regards to how it all looks and feels.  There is much to be revealed, determined and experienced as we live it.  Most people love being in this novelty phase of unfixed excitement, yet it doesn’t take long for the mind to come in and attempt to make things more solid.  Particularly as we develop routines with these new aspects of our lives and they become more “integrated”, ordinary, solid or real.  

As soon as things become increasingly and increasingly more fixed we simultaneously “lose” that feeling of love.  This is not a coincidence.  What we really “lose” is novelty and the unattached state of gratitude that comes with it.  We create solid where there is not really solid and then when our sense of solid either become too solid (where we feel suffocated) or becomes less solid (when we we aren’t wanting it to change) we suffer.  

The less moveable and flexible we are with the comings and goings of life the more we will experience suffering.  Again these comings and goings include everything: your body and its sensations and the expressions of ease or dis‘ease’, your relationships with yourself and others, the state of your physical comforts or discomforts, financial resources, business failures or successes, the range of your emotional body, etc.  All of these things are always going to be in a state of constant flux.  Though there are times when your experience will be that some of aspects of your life are seemingly more stable, this too is just an illusion.  Its simply that the relevance/teachings that you are learning from those experiences takes longer or serves you and/or the rest of the creation more so they hang around for a longer duration of time until their relevance is complete.

Everything constructs and deconstructs, stabilizes and destabilizes, binds and becomes free again.  This is simply the nature of this universe that we live in.  Learning to ride this wave through embracing the comings and goings will keep you in a perpetual state of gratitude, awe and love, which is truly what we desire more than the constant appearance of any aspect of our reality being fixed or staying the same.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Appearances

Appearances 

Seeing the surface

Enchanted mirrorEverything that we see, feel, touch or somehow sense is an appearance.  The world of appearances can be equated with the physical world that we see including our physical bodies.  Most of our daily attention and focus is on these appearances.  Appearances come and go.  That is their nature.  None of them are permanent, hence the seeming impermanence to this thing that we call life.  Despite this quality of impermanence and constant mutability most have come to believe appearances to be the most real, physical, and solid thing that exists.  It is with this seeming realness or physicality that we’ve created our baseline for what we think is, what we focus on and what we believe to be important and valuable.

With so much of our attention focused on appearances very little attention is brought to what is underneath or deep to appearances.  When our sense of stability and knowingness of what is, is fused with the appearance of things then when appearances change (which they always do) so does our sense of knowing what is.  If people are completely fused with appearances then when appearances change they will call it a crisis and the typical response they feel/experience is fear.  If people have some recognition beyond appearances then they will sense the subtle undertones of what is going on past what simply appears to be going on and will see/feel opportunity rather than fear.  If people are completely unfused with appearances then when appearances changes they will be completely undisturbed because their sense of knowing what is has not been affected in any way.  

It is good to take an inventory to see how fused you are with appearances because when you are fused with appearances you are unable to see what is actually there.  One way to easily assess this for yourself is to see where you feel an emotional charge about something that is occurring.  Emotional charge is an indication that there is some fusion with the appearance of what is.  That emotional charge and be positive or negative, meaning it can be either excitement, eagerness or anger, frustration towards something that is occurring.  Either way that charge will focus your awareness on the appearance of the experience that is occurring rather than the essence or unchangeable nature that is deep to all appearances and experiences.   

Diving beneath the  surface

Neutrality and unchangeability

Woman in a white dress under water.Your capacity to be unaffected, undisturbed or unshaken by what is occurring is a measure of how you are able to fully focus your awareness on the unchangeable aspect of your nature.  It is your ability to focus your attention in such a way that you go deep to appearance and feel the stability of yourself that never changes, never moves, and is always present.  When you are rested here, in the core of your being, every single thing in your appearance based world (including people, relationships, financial resources, jobs, state of your physical body or health, self-image, reputation, etc.) can all fall away or change dramatically and yet you remain in a rested state of never ending well-being.  This well-being is neutral, meaning without charge, yet the experience of it is safe, well, blissful, and abundant no matter what appearances are or aren’t in your experience.

This neutrality to those that have not experienced the well-being that comes along with it may seem boring or dull.  Some people will prefer the drama and chemical responses to charge over neutrality as the derive a sense of identity within experiencing life in that way.   To not be swayed and influenced by the ups and downs (typically what we call stress) of the appearance based world may feel like an “un-human” life, yet what are we if not evolving into the next version of new species on this planet that includes and transcends being human?  What does it take to bring that consciousness here?  It requires us to perceive and be anew.  To emit the frequency of well-being rather than be pulled out of our center each time we experience a new set of appearances.   

There are times when you being rested as the stable source that you are, that you must pick a bias.  Where you seemingly pick a side, preference or position on something in the world of appearances.  You may find yourself needing to express an underrepresented perspective to a group of people or find it of service to take a particular set of opinions and behaviors.  People who have not yet realized themselves will often confuse you as the ideas you are representing because again people tend to focus on appearances rather than essence.  Other people’s perception of you is simply them judging their own projection of you until they reach the point in their capacity to focus their awareness beyond appearances and know their own stability.  When they reach that point than all they will see is your essence and everything that they previously painted on top of you simply vanishes as a focal point.  It is for those that have found their own stability that the taking on of biases and preferences is simply in service to helping others realize that same source inside themselves.  

Being unswayed and stably present is one of, if not the biggest gift, that you can be and share with others that don’t know it yet.  Being that source of brilliantly bright stable safety allows everyone and everything around you to relax and rest.  You are not their source of stability, but rather you mirror their own stability to them so that they can experience it. 

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado