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    fka lungs ashlesha's Avatar
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    Default impermanence.

    just wanted to share this.
    from "turning the mind into an ally" by sakyong mipham. copyright, etc.
    ___________________________________________



    the face of impermanence is constantly showing itself. why do we struggle to hide it? why do we feed the circle of suffering by perpetuating the myth of permanence? experiences, friends, relationships, possessions, knowledge - we work so hard to convince ourselves that they will last. when a cup breaks or we forget something or somebody dies or the seasons change, we're surprised. we can't quite believe its over.

    this bittersweet taste marks our lives. the movie ends, our relationship's over, children grow up. impermanence is always pounding at the door. of course, acknowledging impermanence doesn't mean we get permanence. it means we're more in tune with reality; we can relax. as we relinquish our attachment to permanence, pain begins to diminish because we're no longer fooled. accepting impermanence means that we spend less energy resisting reality. our suffering has a more direct quality. we're no longer trying to avoid it. we see that impermanence is a river that runs through life, not a rock that stands in the way. we see that because we resist impermanence, pain and suffering are constants. we realize that pain comes from our desire for permanence.

    at this very instant the weather is changing, our hair is growing, people are dying and being born, and the earth is shifting on its axis as it circles around the sun. we're growing older. perhaps our mood has changed since yesterday. no matter how clear this may be to our intellect, we tend to put ourselves into a trance, thinking things are permanent. we're hypnotized into thinking the world is permanent, we're permanent, relationships are permanent, feelings are permanent. but all of it is impermanent. this contemplation brings us to a very basic level of understanding. it brings us back to the middle of the saddle.

    when i was eight, i flew from india to england. i had never been in an airplane before. as we began to land in london, looking down i saw a world of tiny buildings, tiny streets, tiny cars and trucks. this delighted me. i couldn't wait for the plane to land so i could drive one of those little cars. but as we landed, that little world suddenly grew to adult proportions. it changed.

    the world is made of infinite moving parts. the mind produces a seeming continuity of events and ideas. what we call "war" is a series of calamities arising from beliefs and opinions, which are always subject to change. what we call "peace" is the absence of aggression, a tenuous state. when it is winter, summer no longer exists. we organize our life around the concept of a solid self in a solid world, even though all of it is simply ideas and forms coming in and out of existence, like thousands of stars flickering in the night. is there anything that is not impermanent?

    in contemplating impermanence we can consider what permanence would mean. permanence would be awkward. it would be an unchanging situation, isolated in space, unaffected by time or the elements. there would be no beginning and no end, no causes and conditions. everything would last forever. there'd be no seasons. we'd never be born, grow up, fall in love, have children, grow old, or die. we'd never eat because we'd never be hungry. we couldn't be in relationship to anything else because it would change us. in contemplating impermanence, we see the impossibility of life being anything other than what it is. we begin to lighten up and enjoy the constant play of light and dark, of visible and invisible, of increase and decrease.

    contemplating impermanence can be a liberating experience, one that brings both sobriety and joy. in essence, we become less attached. we realize we can't really have anything. we have money and then it's gone; we have sadness and then it's gone. no matter how we want to cling to our loved ones, by nature every relationship is a meeting and a parting. this doesn't mean we have less love. it means we have less fixation, less pain. it means we have more freedom and appreciation, because we can relax into the ebb and flow of life.

    understanding the meaning of impermanence makes us less desperate people. it gives us dignity. we no longer grasp at pleasure, trying to squeeze out every last drop. we no longer consider pain something we should fear, deny, and avoid. we know that it will change.

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    squark's Avatar
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    Hmm. Yes, and no. I think focusing on the transitory nature of things can be just as bad as trying to keep things from moving. When you become acutely aware of the change, you can start watching for it, observing in small ways it occurring, and how those little things add up to something else. It can actually be harder to take pleasure in something when you're aware how easily it passes, even if you're not trying to hold onto it. Being aware doesn't make you let go, it can just cause a constant sadness as you watch things slip away.

    Something that I think helps more, is to find something solid in the midst of all the change, something that can be counted on, that you know is there, to give you some kind of anchor - a point of orientation to navigate from.
    Last edited by squark; 09-28-2012 at 08:20 PM.

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    From dust, to dust.
    Presently.
    Tomorrow, perhaps not. It is ironic the author speaks singularly whilst condemning a singular perspective on life.
    Fact is, permanence is perfectly possible, but not presently. Man can be immortal, simply by virtue of the fact that we define man and immortal and could well fulfill them.
    For example; man is the sum of his neurological processes. Immortal is the ability to exist indefinitely. An immortal man is one whose neurological processes exist indefinitely. Perfectly possible.

    Till then, we are all born dead. We never feel what it is to return to the earth save once that irreversible descent into darkness begins, and then we are changed forever.

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    it's thought provoking but it's a little too preachy for my tastes. the word "we" is used projectively. as squark points out you can obviously err on both sides and i see little reason to suspect the bias is more commonly in the direction the author implies. take for example when people keep giving a certain person a chance despite repeated instances of bad behavior. that's an assumption of too little permanence. "this time is different."

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    I hate it when people say they aren't afraid of death. Death is the essence of fear, that which all fear is based on. Nobody doesn't fear death, except crazy people.

    I like that they chose the word bittersweet because if I could assign one word to my emotional relation to life when I "zoom out," that would be it. Of course in its every dayness there is a whole spectrum of emotions, but when it boils down to it, life is about death; its the engine that keeps everything running. If there was no death, we would spend eternity laying over each other and would accomplish nothing. Urgency underlies everything we bother to through ourselves into: urgency to experience life, to make our time worth something, to improve before our time drips away in half hearted tones of grey.

    So thank your death.

    Last edited by Gilly; 09-28-2012 at 09:10 PM.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    fka lungs ashlesha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    Something that I think helps more, is to find something solid in the midst of all the change, something that can be counted on, that you know is there, to give you some kind of anchor - a point of orientation to navigate from.
    i like that, but my instinct about being able to count on the self is different. going to quote from this book more again, hope you don't mind, he says it way better than i can. i don't know if its a matter of right or wrong, but this view just resonates with me a lot. not even because i like it, really, but because in my experience and my understanding its the only thing that makes sense and corresponds with what i've been able to work out in my own head.

    __________________________
    suffering is the state of mind that regards itself as real. we can spend our whole life trying to create a solid, lasting self. we can spend our whole life looking outside ourselves for something to reflect this delusion of solidity, to be as real and lasting as we wish ourselves to be. search though we will, it's impossible to find what doesn't exist, and the perpetual search causes suffering. the buddha saw the reality that we're bewildered and suffering because we take ourselves so seriously. we haven't seen the open radiance of basic goodness, our natural state.

    ...we feel angry when someone challenges the opinions we hold dear. if something doesn't go our way, we feel insulted. when something interrupts our routine, we feel a sense of loss. we try to ward of signs of aging.

    the buddha said, "i'm not going to tell you one way or the other; but if you are real, where are you? and if the world is real, where is it?" in buddhism we talk about emptiness because when we start to investigate that self, we can't find anything solid or substantial. there's a sense of self - a shadow. we have eyes and visual consciousness - that is a sense of "me." we have touch and feeling - that is a sense of "me." we have memories, thoughts, actions, and speech, all adding up to a sense of "me." we have a body and the pleasure and pain that come with that and these things are "me," too. this sense of self is mentally fabricated, defined by outer conditions. we say, "i don't feel like myself today." but when we look for this self that we want to feel like - where is it? the same is true for the world around us. we feel that everything is just as it appears. yet if we look beneath the surface, we find that our universe is not quite as stable as it seems. the things "out there" change just as much as we do.

    Quote Originally Posted by labster View Post
    it's thought provoking but it's a little too preachy for my tastes. the word "we" is used projectively. as squark points out you can obviously err on both sides and i see little reason to suspect the bias is more commonly in the direction the author implies. take for example when people keep giving a certain person a chance despite repeated instances of bad behavior. that's an assumption of too little permanence. "this time is different."
    maybe preachy - the book is instructional on how to meditate and i think the author uses "we" a lot to avoid saying "you" do this and that, which, yeah, maybe projective, but it doesn't bother me in the context of the book and the purpose of it.

    i'm not so sure its at all common to err on the other side, but maybe that's projection on my part. cuz the idea of impermanence to me is something extremely elusive and difficult to wrap my head around, even if i think its true and important. as for your example, i don't think people really do illogical things like that out of actual stupid logical conclusions, more like their own ingrained habits, like in that case i think the person would probably give them a chance because of their ingrained and enduring perception of themselves as a "good person who gives chances" which would be more about permanence than impermanence - but that's just my take on it.
    Last edited by ashlesha; 09-28-2012 at 09:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    I like that you chose the word bittersweet because if I could assign one word to my emotional relation to life when I "zoom out," that would be it.
    ha, i wish i wrote that thank mr. mipham.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    I hate it when people say they aren't afraid of death. Death is the essence of fear, that which all fear is based on. Nobody doesn't fear death, except crazy people.

    Of course in its every dayness there is a whole spectrum of emotions, but when it boils down to it, life is about death; its the engine that keeps everything running. If there was no death, we would spend eternity laying over each other and would accomplish nothing. Urgency underlies everything we bother to through ourselves into: urgency to experience life, to make our time worth something, to improve before our time drips away in half hearted tones of grey.

    So thank your death.
    truth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    I hate it when people say they aren't afraid of death. Death is the essence of fear, that which all fear is based on. Nobody doesn't fear death, except crazy people.
    I sincerely do not in the classic idea. I am more afraid of the association than the physical manifestation, which is wholly two different ideas.

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    fka lungs ashlesha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadae2point0 View Post
    I sincerely do not in the classic idea. I am more afraid of the association than the physical manifestation, which is wholly two different ideas.
    What is the association?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    What is the association?
    Ideas such as failing promises to others, failing the idea of self, leaving anyone behind in pain, and so on.

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    That's a nice poem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    i like that, but my instinct about being able to count on the self is different. going to quote from this book more again, hope you don't mind, he says it way better than i can. i don't know if its a matter of right or wrong, but this view just resonates with me a lot. not even because i like it, really, but because in my experience and my understanding its the only thing that makes sense and corresponds with what i've been able to work out in my own head.

    Quote Originally Posted by book
    __________________________
    suffering is the state of mind that regards itself as real. we can spend our whole life trying to create a solid, lasting self. we can spend our whole life looking outside ourselves for something to reflect this delusion of solidity, to be as real and lasting as we wish ourselves to be. search though we will, it's impossible to find what doesn't exist, and the perpetual search causes suffering. the buddha saw the reality that we're bewildered and suffering because we take ourselves so seriously. we haven't seen the open radiance of basic goodness, our natural state.

    ...we feel angry when someone challenges the opinions we hold dear. if something doesn't go our way, we feel insulted. when something interrupts our routine, we feel a sense of loss. we try to ward of signs of aging.

    the buddha said, "i'm not going to tell you one way or the other; but if you are real, where are you? and if the world is real, where is it?" in buddhism we talk about emptiness because when we start to investigate that self, we can't find anything solid or substantial. there's a sense of self - a shadow. we have eyes and visual consciousness - that is a sense of "me." we have touch and feeling - that is a sense of "me." we have memories, thoughts, actions, and speech, all adding up to a sense of "me." we have a body and the pleasure and pain that come with that and these things are "me," too. this sense of self is mentally fabricated, defined by outer conditions. we say, "i don't feel like myself today." but when we look for this self that we want to feel like - where is it? the same is true for the world around us. we feel that everything is just as it appears. yet if we look beneath the surface, we find that our universe is not quite as stable as it seems. the things "out there" change just as much as we do.
    I need some kind of meaning. If you look at yourself and your life as something that fades into nothingness, with no point or purpose, no gain, adding nothing, then it's empty, it doesn't mean anything. And some people say, "Of course. There is no meaning. Accept it," but I can't do that, if that makes me unenlightened, so be it.

    These proclamations to "make yourself empty" and to "let life flow through you, unattached" bothers me. How old are these teachings? Why were they written down? There should have been no recording of them at all if the recordkeeper was truly following the advice. And why did this man write a book spreading them further? Why teach, why instruct, unless you want to put your views out there, influencing and changing and impacting the world around you. When you teach anything, you're taking control, you're saying "this matters" you ARE attached to something. Teaching is active, it is not passive. You are trying to make your knowledge, your experience, your views live on, trying to create a permanence, or semi-permanence of the ideas of "non-permanence." It's hypocritical by it's very nature, and does not reflect reality. Can you see the contradiction in saying something like, "I am ephemeral and open to all life, letting it pass over me without judgement. This is how YOU should be too. Become like me."

    I see value in not worrying about things, in taking things as they come without anxiety and stressing too much, but this can be taken to extremes. There comes a point when you are simply denying your own power, your own will, desires, initiatives and humanity to become something unnatural, less than, empty and repressed. I have wants. I have desires, I have things I want to see come to fruition, and to be nonchalant about those things, to "detach" from their outcome, is imo to deny them, and deny their value. Yes, I want to keep those things that mean something to me (doesn't mean I fret about their loss all the time, or remind myself continually about their temporary nature) and yes, I'm sad when I lose them. But allowing yourself to be affected by something can demonstrate that it DOES/DID matter to you. It was important. It meant something. It had value.

    Something that I've been thinking about is people, and relationships with them. People move in and out of our lives, they change, you change, the nature of your interactions change. Being overly aware of this isn't helpful to me. There are people who I don't want to drift away from. I could be flippant, and unattached, and let them go without a fight, just accepting the impermanence of everything. But some people matter. Some friendships are important, and some things are worth holding onto, and keeping in your life for as long as you can. This doesn't mean becoming clingy and needy and panicking continually - that's counterproductive and is a focus on it being temporary. What it means is prioritizing to make them a part of your life, making time and space for them, communicating, not closing yourself off, putting in effort. These are all actions that I can take to keep a relationship with someone. But, I have to act. I have to say, "This is important, and I want this," in order to take action. While what I wrote awhile back is true, that I am the only thing I know I'll have when I die, I can still build things that can last through a good portion of that life with other people. And I can create things that will still be around after I'm dead.

    To refrain from fighting for anything is to say that nothing matters, and I can't accept that. There are things that are worth the effort to keep.

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadae2point0 View Post
    I sincerely do not in the classic idea. I am more afraid of the association than the physical manifestation, which is wholly two different ideas.
    If you did not have the genes to fear death, your ancestors would not have survived.

    Have you ever been in a situation where your life was actually threatened?
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    fka lungs ashlesha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    I need some kind of meaning. If you look at yourself and your life as something that fades into nothingness, with no point or purpose, no gain, adding nothing, then it's empty, it doesn't mean anything. And some people say, "Of course. There is no meaning. Accept it," but I can't do that, if that makes me unenlightened, so be it.

    These proclamations to "make yourself empty" and to "let life flow through you, unattached" bothers me. How old are these teachings? Why were they written down? There should have been no recording of them at all if the recordkeeper was truly following the advice. And why did this man write a book spreading them further? Why teach, why instruct, unless you want to put your views out there, influencing and changing and impacting the world around you. When you teach anything, you're taking control, you're saying "this matters" you ARE attached to something. Teaching is active, it is not passive. You are trying to make your knowledge, your experience, your views live on, trying to create a permanence, or semi-permanence of the ideas of "non-permanence." It's hypocritical by it's very nature, and does not reflect reality. Can you see the contradiction in saying something like, "I am ephemeral and open to all life, letting it pass over me without judgement. This is how YOU should be too. Become like me."

    I see value in not worrying about things, in taking things as they come without anxiety and stressing too much, but this can be taken to extremes. There comes a point when you are simply denying your own power, your own will, desires, initiatives and humanity to become something unnatural, less than, empty and repressed. I have wants. I have desires, I have things I want to see come to fruition, and to be nonchalant about those things, to "detach" from their outcome, is imo to deny them, and deny their value. Yes, I want to keep those things that mean something to me (doesn't mean I fret about their loss all the time, or remind myself continually about their temporary nature) and yes, I'm sad when I lose them. But allowing yourself to be affected by something can demonstrate that it DOES/DID matter to you. It was important. It meant something. It had value.

    Something that I've been thinking about is people, and relationships with them. People move in and out of our lives, they change, you change, the nature of your interactions change. Being overly aware of this isn't helpful to me. There are people who I don't want to drift away from. I could be flippant, and unattached, and let them go without a fight, just accepting the impermanence of everything. But some people matter. Some friendships are important, and some things are worth holding onto, and keeping in your life for as long as you can. This doesn't mean becoming clingy and needy and panicking continually - that's counterproductive and is a focus on it being temporary. What it means is prioritizing to make them a part of your life, making time and space for them, communicating, not closing yourself off, putting in effort. These are all actions that I can take to keep a relationship with someone. But, I have to act. I have to say, "This is important, and I want this," in order to take action. While what I wrote awhile back is true, that I am the only thing I know I'll have when I die, I can still build things that can last through a good portion of that life with other people. And I can create things that will still be around after I'm dead.

    To refrain from fighting for anything is to say that nothing matters, and I can't accept that. There are things that are worth the effort to keep.
    this is a really excellent post.

    i guess i'm just frustrated because i feel like every time i know something it turns out i'm wrong and every time i care about something it disappears and every time i think i have a grip on my identity i change. maybe its a trick - i'm grabbing on to impermanence as the one fucking thing i can have that's permanent. i'm just really tired of feeling like my life is a game of constantly trying to keep a balloon in bucket full of water. and the message is kinda like "yeah balloons float, deal with it" and that's a relief.

    idk sdfjasdkl;fjaskl;fj;fjs

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    Walls of text aside, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    I need some kind of meaning. If you look at yourself and your life as something that fades into nothingness, with no point or purpose, no gain, adding nothing, then it's empty, it doesn't mean anything. And some people say, "Of course. There is no meaning. Accept it," but I can't do that, if that makes me unenlightened, so be it.
    ...they're not some people to begin with and I do not know what some kind of meaning that actually denotes.

    These proclamations to "make yourself empty" and to "let life flow through you, unattached" bothers me. How old are these teachings? Why were they written down?
    Those are teachings of theological Buddhists which flourished after Buddhism swallowed its predecessor and twisted its teachings, not to mention banned/outlawed animal sacrifice as far as I can tell and it was founded circa 400 B.C, I would say. They're written down in order you follow them.

    The rest I didn't bother/couldn't read.

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    jfc i have tears in my eyes now. i'm just frustrated, god, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    jfc i have tears in my eyes now. i'm just frustrated, god, lol.
    I'm sorry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    jfc i have tears in my eyes now. i'm just frustrated, god, lol.
    JCF doesn't live here anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    I'm sorry.
    nah, don't be, i think my reason for even talking about it here in the first place was to put it to the test.

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    Bump.

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    i still think it's true.

    i think @squark's post was more like what i want to believe, which is why i was impacted emotionally.

    i'm not sure if it's impossible to reconcile though. maybe you can fight for something that's important to you while maintaining an awareness in the background that it might not always be important to you. i don't think it's hypocritical if both your values and your awareness are true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    jfc i have tears in my eyes now. i'm just frustrated, god, lol.
    lol, well so long as we're talking Buddhism, I guess we can talk shop... When the Buddha was asked what he taught, he answered "suffering and the end of suffering." There's a reason for this. The teaching of anicca/impermanence is simply meant to help you gain balance in the face of a world in which everything is constantly coming together and falling apart. When people from a Judeo-Christian background approach these teachings, they often regard them as things they have to believe. Instead, all of Buddhist teaching should be seen as a heuristic. In the oft-misquoted Kalama Sutta, the Buddha gives the criteria by which philosophical teaching should be judged: does it improve the quality of your life or sense of well-being, or not? People often wonder why in this teaching the Buddha said even logic shouldn't be a criteria. It wasn't because he didn't believe in critical thought. It was simply because it was irrelevant -- these weren't ideas that you were meant to adopt. They were prescriptions were meant to experiment with. They're strategies you're meant to play with in your life. That's all. There's no belief or truth that you need to defend.

    The very first thing that the Buddha ever taught after reaching enlightenment wasn't the Four Noble Truths or the Three Marks of Existence. It was the Middle Way. It's definitely possible to take any of these teaching to an extreme. As modern-day secular humanists, it's best to come to your own definition of what the extremes of self-mortification and self-indulgence are. Although the Buddha left the yogis who put themselves through physical torture in favor of something less... masochistic, he was still working within the sramanic culture of ancient India; basically, an entire phenomenon of homeless mendicants who had given up worldly life to devote themselves to achieving liberation. This obviously isn't very appealing to us today. It would probably feel quite radical for anyone in a Western nation to drop out of society and devote themselves to spiritual freedom. But the baby in the bathwater about this impermanence stuff is not about self-annihilation or cauterizing yourself (as dolphin beautifully described her impression of Buddhist practice to me a while back). It can certainly be interpreted that way, and a lot of Buddhists do in fact get into this OCD cycle of trying to eradicate all attachment to the world. But really impermanence is simply about acknowledging the real extent of our control. I like the way Pema Chodron describes this:

    Impermanence is the goodness of reality. Just as the four seasons are in continual flux, winter changing to spring to summer to autumn; just as day becomes night, light becoming dark becoming light again—in the same way, everything is constantly evolving. Impermanence is the essence of everything. It is babies becoming children, then teenagers, then adults, then old people, and somewhere along the way dropping dead. Impermanence is meeting and parting. It’s falling in love and falling out of love. Impermanence is bittersweet, like buying a new shirt and years later finding it as part of a patchwork quilt.

    People have no respect for impermanence. We take no de*light in it; in fact, we despair of it. We regard it as pain. We try to resist it by making things that will last—forever, we say—things that we don’t have to wash, things that we don’t have to iron. Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things.

    Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality. Many cultures celebrate this connectedness. There are ceremonies marking all the transitions of life from birth to death, as well as meetings and partings, going into battle, losing the battle, and winning the battle. We too could acknowledge, respect, and celebrate impermanence.

    So if this teaching helps you -- if it helps you become freer, more aware, more compassionate, more happy in your life -- then use it. If it causes you anxiety, or if you find yourself trying to shoehorn it into your life, let it go.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    copyright, etc.
    “I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life. - Osama bin Laden

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    thank you @Super Baby

    it definitely makes me feel more at peace thinking about impermanence and i don't feel like i need to sacrifice what i love and value for the sake of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    If you did not have the genes to fear death, your ancestors would not have survived.

    Have you ever been in a situation where your life was actually threatened?
    I have been in near-death about 7 or so times now. Most people are not usually born like this. Like you noted prior, however, not everything is directly genetically linked, but there are two notes of interest which conflict: 1. I have never had a fear of heights, water, fire, etc. When I was 3 or so, I had to be tied down, because I would walk straight into water. I believe that was my 2nd near-death experience. Yes, I nearly drowned myself and had to have my chest pumped, lol. 2. The feeling of not really caring, other than more abstract needs, likely stems from PTSD, since the majority of those feelings began to occur after its onset. This would likely make more sense to those who can easily disassociate which seems to be how these seemingly different ideas relate. Likewise, when I bleed, I do no really care. If someone else bleeds, I could also care less. If someone I care about bleeds, I either react physically or jump into action to help them. It is a sort of selective empathetic response, which I have noted in some other males. The medication in which I take that prevents disassociation is really good at mediating back to a normal homeostasis re: people, death, living, and so on, but I could still care less if I was physically alive. I wish there was an easier way to convey what I mean, because this feels like a scenario of trying to explain something that is experience-based.

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    Maybe static/dynamic might have something to do with predisposition regarding who feels more comfortable with permanence or impermanence.
    Changes might hurt especially when we talk about relations with people but as a whole they are exciting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadae2point0 View Post
    I have been in near-death about 7 or so times now. Most people are not usually born like this. Like you noted prior, however, not everything is directly genetically linked, but there are two notes of interest which conflict: 1. I have never had a fear of heights, water, fire, etc. When I was 3 or so, I had to be tied down, because I would walk straight into water. I believe that was my 2nd near-death experience. Yes, I nearly drowned myself and had to have my chest pumped, lol. 2. The feeling of not really caring, other than more abstract needs, likely stems from PTSD, since the majority of those feelings began to occur after its onset. This would likely make more sense to those who can easily disassociate which seems to be how these seemingly different ideas relate. Likewise, when I bleed, I do no really care. If someone else bleeds, I could also care less. If someone I care about bleeds, I either react physically or jump into action to help them. It is a sort of selective empathetic response, which I have noted in some other males. The medication in which I take that prevents disassociation is really good at mediating back to a normal homeostasis re: people, death, living, and so on, but I could still care less if I was physically alive. I wish there was an easier way to convey what I mean, because this feels like a scenario of trying to explain something that is experience-based.
    So are you saying you truly don't care if you live or die, and only bother sticking around for the sake of others?
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    It's been a few years since I've read Mipham's book but he certainly isn't advocating a total detachment from life and surrender to the currents of fate. Quite the opposite. What he's getting at is immersing oneself in the here & now and being wholly engaged with What Is, rather than clinging to the What Was regrets over one's unalterable history or imagining phantom disasters in the uncontrollable, What Might Be future. Along similar lines, the practical upshot of zen buddhism can be reduced to the following: Eat when hungry, sleep when tired. That isn't license to simply do as one wishes or an injunction to become the slave of impulse. What is says is, if a bill is due or a sock is seen lying on the floor or something else appears which needs to be dealt with, then simply do it with directed attention; don't waste time and energy agonizing over a million unrelated thoughts about things which aren't available to immediate experience. Quite simply, these teachings present the means to free oneself from F.E.A.R., False Expectations Appearing Real. This opens the way for a fuller engagement with living.

    Selected quotes from Alan Watts to help clarify Mipham's thoughts:

    “We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

    “The art of living... is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

    “I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

    “The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”

    “We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”

    “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”

    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”

    “This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

    “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

    “Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.”

    “Although the rhythm of the waves beats a kind of time, it is not clock or calendar time. It has no urgency. It happens to be timeless time. I know that I am listening to a rhythm which has been just the same for millions of years, and it takes me out of a world of relentlessly ticking clocks. Clocks for some reason or other always seem to be marching, and, as with armies, marching is never to anything but doom. But in the motion of waves there is no marching rhythm. It harmonizes with our very breathing. It does not count our days. Its pulse is not in the stingy spirit of measuring, of marking out how much still remains. It is the breathing of eternity, like the God Brahma of Indian mythology inhaling and exhaling, manifesting and dissolving the worlds, forever. As a mere conception this might sound appallingly monotonous, until you come to listen to the breaking and washing of waves.”

    “It's like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it's dense, isn't it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you're a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don't feel that we're still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually--if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning-- you're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as--Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so--I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I'm that, too. But we've learned to define ourselves as separate from it. ”

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    Quote Originally Posted by k0rpsy View Post
    It's been a few years since I've read Mipham's book but he certainly isn't advocating a total detachment from life and surrender to the currents of fate. Quite the opposite. What he's getting at is immersing oneself in the here & now and being wholly engaged with What Is, rather than clinging to the What Was regrets over one's unalterable history or imagining phantom disasters in the uncontrollable, What Might Be future. Along similar lines, the practical upshot of zen buddhism can be reduced to the following: Eat when hungry, sleep when tired. That isn't license to simply do as one wishes or an injunction to become the slave of impulse. What is says is, if a bill is due or a sock is seen lying on the floor or something else appears which needs to be dealt with, then simply do it with directed attention; don't waste time and energy agonizing over a million unrelated thoughts about things which aren't available to immediate experience. Quite simply, these teachings present the means to free oneself from F.E.A.R., False Expectations Appearing Real. This opens the way for a fuller engagement with living.

    Selected quotes from Alan Watts to help clarify Mipham's thoughts:

    “We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

    “The art of living... is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

    “I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

    “The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”

    “We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”

    “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”

    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”

    “This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

    “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

    “Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.”

    “Although the rhythm of the waves beats a kind of time, it is not clock or calendar time. It has no urgency. It happens to be timeless time. I know that I am listening to a rhythm which has been just the same for millions of years, and it takes me out of a world of relentlessly ticking clocks. Clocks for some reason or other always seem to be marching, and, as with armies, marching is never to anything but doom. But in the motion of waves there is no marching rhythm. It harmonizes with our very breathing. It does not count our days. Its pulse is not in the stingy spirit of measuring, of marking out how much still remains. It is the breathing of eternity, like the God Brahma of Indian mythology inhaling and exhaling, manifesting and dissolving the worlds, forever. As a mere conception this might sound appallingly monotonous, until you come to listen to the breaking and washing of waves.”

    “It's like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it's dense, isn't it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you're a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don't feel that we're still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually--if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning-- you're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as--Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so--I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I'm that, too. But we've learned to define ourselves as separate from it. ”
    Really awesome quotes. Reminds me of Carl Sagan. <3
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    Really awesome quotes. Reminds me of Carl Sagan. <3
    It's the & dude. I think Watts and Sagan were Gamma NT mirrors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    thank you @Super Baby

    it definitely makes me feel more at peace thinking about impermanence and i don't feel like i need to sacrifice what i love and value for the sake of it.
    I think k0rpsy's post is a pretty good elaboration on how to best use the idea. I know, for me, sometimes it's exactly what I need to remind myself of, and at other times, it does nothing for me. Basically, when it works, it reminds me of this Keats poem, "To Autumn": "Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?/ Think not of them, thou hast thy music too." Also, this short poem by Fujiwara No Kiyosuke: “I may live on until/ I long for this time/ in which I am so unhappy/ and remember it fondly.” It helps me get through the rough patches to remember that, even looking back to the darkest times in my life, every season has its music that is constantly flowing and changing.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    So are you saying you truly don't care if you live or die, and only bother sticking around for the sake of others?
    No, it is not that simple. Try this: Talk to others like me in the future regarding this. It is going to reoccur anyways. It is likely they will be open about it (one on one, not publicly), which I know sounds odd. Also, there are others on the forum like me, but just not as social about it, because I have no problem educating others to understand and others are more private.

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    What is this thread about anyway, never got that.

    Last edited by Absurd; 09-29-2012 at 11:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by k0rpsy View Post
    It's the & dude. I think Watts and Sagan were Gamma NT mirrors.
    Yeah that's part of it but just like...the whole attitude of looking at the world positively because of the TRUTH about it, like realistic positivity and truly trying to change your outlook, not because WE SHOULD JUST BE HAPPY BECAUSE HAPPY IS GOOD YEEAAAAAAHHH
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadae2point0 View Post
    No, it is not that simple. Try this: Talk to others like me in the future regarding this. It is going to reoccur anyways. It is likely they will be open about it (one on one, not publicly), which I know sounds odd. Also, there are others on the forum like me, but just not as social about it, because I have no problem educating others to understand and others are more private.
    I dunno, I just can't help but doubt when people say they truly aren't afraid of dying. Maybe I just don't get it but everything I know and feel says that it's not really possible barring seriously extreme/special circumstances.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  36. #36
    Creepy-pokeball

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    I dunno, I just can't help but doubt when people say they truly aren't afraid of dying. Maybe I just don't get it but everything I know and feel says that it's not really possible barring seriously extreme/special circumstances.
    It isnt rational, which seems to be what I believe your road block in this scenario is. Ever hear of a death wish? It's an old term, and I am sure it will have newer versions of the term in the future.

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadae2point0 View Post
    It isnt rational, which seems to be what I believe your road block in this scenario is. Ever hear of a death wish? It's an old term, and I am sure it will have newer versions of the term in the future.
    But see that just cryptically sounds like you're saying you want to die, which is basically what I was asking before, which implies that there's a reason you haven't committed suicide, and you yourself implied something about looking after others. So you see where I'm getting this from, right?

    I don't expect people to be rational; that would be irrational. But I do expect there to be explanations for things. If you don't feel like explaining then feel free to say that.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  38. #38
    Creepy-pokeball

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    But see that just cryptically sounds like you're saying you want to die, which is basically what I was asking before, which implies that there's a reason you haven't committed suicide, and you yourself implied something about looking after others. So you see where I'm getting this from, right?

    I don't expect people to be rational; that would be irrational. But I do expect there to be explanations for things. If you don't feel like explaining then feel free to say that.
    Note how these two expectations contradict:

    "I don't expect people to be rational; that would be irrational."

    "But I do expect there to be explanations for things."

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    Ditch those Buddhists, lungs, they're blind, literally.

    Try this as long you're bent on that kind of things: http://www.thelightningpath.com/

    All hail Absurd.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadae2point0 View Post
    Note how these two expectations contradict:

    "I don't expect people to be rational; that would be irrational."

    "But I do expect there to be explanations for things."
    Oh but they don't. People don't have to be predictable or intelligent or even self-interested like some people think. But they do have to have reasons. Our lives are one big messy chain of causation and it seems insane and chaotic and random sometimes but there is always something ticking beneath it all. The default order of the universe is chaos, but our very existence resists that chaos, and there is always a reason, whether its sounds like it makes sense or not.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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