It is not impermanence that makes us suffer.
What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.
Thich Nat Han
Everything in our world is impermanent. Yet, we try to live as though it is permanent. Another way to put this is that we “pretend” that our loved ones will live forever, or we avoid paying attention to the impermanent nature of this world. One of the most challenging aspects of this illusion is we tend to live as though we will be here forever. We may feel we need to accumulate more or feel we never have enough when we live by this illusion. We sometimes do this at the expense of our happiness and well-being! A quote from a book of Robert Adams teachings called Silence of the Heart illustrates this perfectly:
“The world isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago. Everything has changed. Then how can you say the world is real? Most of us are afraid to get into that subject, for we begin to feel that nothing is permanent, and this brings fear. If nothing is permanent, then who am I really? What am I? Where did I come from? What is the source of myself? These questions can only be answered by you.”
This is called self-inquiry. Self-Inquiry can assist us in seeing through illusion. The Sedona Method® provides a beautiful set of self-inquiry questions to explore this more deeply. TSM has been tested and proven effective at dissolving illusions.
The following quotes illustrate this illusion as one of the leading root causes of human suffering. In her usual straightforward manner, Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, states,
Impermanence is a principle of harmony.
When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.
Alan Watts, a legendary spiritual scholar, adds,
Buddha’s Doctrine: Man suffers because of his craving to possess and keep forever things which are essentially impermanent…this frustration of the desire to possess is the immediate cause of suffering.
Eastern spiritual traditions commonly refer to this illusion. In the West, we could do more examination of or simple openness to our lives’ impermanent nature and this world.
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