I have spoken previously about impermanence, but it is good to be reminded of it because it is the very nature of everything, and we suffer if we don’t accept that. We try to fight or deny impermanence because we see it in a negative way – change and death. But when we accept impermanence we develop a true appreciation for every moment of life.
For example, the magic of a sunset is its temporary appearance, just like a rainbow. It appears under special circumstances and only remains for a short time. And we have to be in the right place at the right time to see it. That’s why we stop for a brief moment of awe when we see a rainbow. If it were to last forever we’d take it for granted and never really appreciate it. At the same time, we don’t suffer or lament its passing once it disappears. Knowing its impermanence means we don’t become attached to it, therefore we can experience joy at its appearance yet let it go when it disappears.
It is interesting that almost everybody is able to do that, yet we all suffer so much because of attachment to other things in our lives, thinking of them as permanent. We suffer when we have some loss, separation, decay and all kinds of changes that are part of life. Sadly, it seems only after we lose someone or something do we really appreciate it. When it is actually too late.
This is why contemplating impermanence is so important – not to depress or upset us but to help us fully appreciate life and everything in it. Once we understand impermanence we can enjoy every moment, just like the fleeting appearance of a rainbow. The company of loved ones, nature, material comfort etc, when we fully appreciate the moment, we can give ourselves to it completely and really experience it. And when that moment is over, we let it go. Of course we still have our memories, but we shouldn’t cling to them or allow the past to dominate our present. Instead we should use our past as inspiration to improve everything that we do now.
Even for the worst experiences in life, contemplating impermanence is helpful as we understand that nothing lasts forever,……
People are always talking about being free and independent – kids want their own car and house so they are independent and free from their parents, people want their country to be independent and free from unwanted rulers. But nobody is free and independent.
Who really has control over themselves? We don’t have control over anything, not just external things, but even our own mind. We can’t control what feelings and thoughts we have from one moment to the next. And when these thoughts and feelings come, we are completely carried away by them and our life becomes like a roller coaster.
Modern technology makes everything faster, which in one way is good as we have access to more things, but in another way, the roller coaster of our emotions becomes much faster. For example, previously people exchanged letters by mail which took days or weeks, but now people exchange emails and text messages almost instantly.
We have no control and are totally dependent on conditions. For example, being in a relationship, if you talk to him or her every night and then one night you call and there is no answer, then you start to have all sorts of thoughts and emotions.
But if you have mindfulness and awareness of how you are dependent on causes and conditions then no matter what happens you won’t get completely lost or carried away.
We are living in a very busy and competitive time. No matter whether we’re in Asia or in the West, we grow up with the idea that we have to work hard in order to “make it” – whatever this might be. Maybe we want to get a good job, have a happy family, a nice house, loyal friends and an interesting lifestyle.
We think that if we always give 100% of our strength then we can achieve all our goals. And you know what? I think that’s true. But maybe we have to look at this from a slightly different perspective.
Doing something 100% doesn’t necessarily mean being extreme. It doesn’t mean getting obsessed by something or thinking about it all the time while neglecting other things which are important in our life.
It means that in the very moment while focussing on something you really concentrate only on that. During your work you shouldn’t think too much about other things which are not related to it. And when you are not working you also shouldn’t think all the time about the work.
Rather while you are working, concentrate on your work and do it in the best way possible without being distracted. And when you are together with your family or friends focus on them and give them all your attention, care and love. Likewise when you have some free time for yourself let go of all the other things, enjoy and just relax.
In this way you can follow various activities without being distracted. Try to train your mind to be focussed. Be aware of your actions. Know what you are doing with your body, speech and mind. Ask yourself if you are really doing what you are supposed to do right now or if your mind is distracted by thinking of the last or the next year’s holidays.
In these times if you want to accomplish your goals without getting worried, stressed or crazy this seems to be one of the best methods: give 100% in every single moment.
There is nothing wrong with holding hands in hospice. The problem is when that is the only treatment that you have to offer.
When modern hospice started there may have been less that could be done for patients thus holding hands may have had to be one of the only treatments available. If they couldn’t control your symptoms then at least you didn’t have to die alone and having someone hold your hand might provide some comfort.
Hospices may have started off as places where semi-retired doctors, nurses and others might go to work when they were wanting an easy job at the end of their careers but modern day hospice requires staff who are willing to continue learning, to grow their skills and knowledge as palliative care situations have become increasingly complex situations. Due to advances in medical treatments people are living longer than they ever have before. The silver tsunami is the greatest achievement of modern medicine, people are able to live to old ages.