Embracing Impermanence

by Carrie Renee  •  May 23, 2017

Whew! Just wanted to take a moment and share about the beautiful and complimentary experience I recently had sitting my first 10-day Vipassana meditation course. There are so many congruencies between the teachings of Vipassana and the teachings of Solsara, including residing in the present moment, the study of the intersection between mind and body, the deep appreciation of the nature of impermanence, and recognizing and letting go of attachments.

The first day I got knocked over the head with the true meaning of SLOW, with the present moment ALL UP IN MY FACE. “Wow, 10 days,” I thought. “What did I get myself into?”

Over the 10-days however, I was able to witness the past 20 years of my study of the mind/body/spirit interplay meld into a new form, a deeper listening. Within that space, I watched myself struggle, create stories, distract, complain, blame, and victimize, as well as surrender, work with great focus and determination, open my heart immensely, love this life more fully, and come into greater alignment with the true nature of existence.

Sounds big, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. There is some element of a new layer of “AH-HA” and a greater integration of the rising and falling of life and experience, but as significant as those moments can feel, a strong awareness of insignificance proceeds. Within the changing nature of everything, the thought I just had, the itchy sensation from that bug crawling on my leg, the way the wind is currently blowing across the grasses, and the song that a bird nearby is singing— there is no significance to hold onto. It arises and I choose to let it go.

Always and every time? No. If there is one thing I learned from Vipassana, it is that I’m definitely NOT enlightened yet. And honestly, it’s not something I strive for. What I do feel committed to is awakening more fully to myself, what I’m experiencing, and the nature of impermanence every chance I get. Because when we awaken, then we have choice. If we stay sleeping, there can be no choice.

Standing on the edge of the field with birds flying high, Mt. Rainer standing tall, and the most divine breeze moving my hair, my skirt, and the grasses in unison, I cried. I cried not in suffering but in the deep realization of the fragility of life; what I now lovingly refer to as Anicha Grief (Anicha is the Pali word for Impermanence).

As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “It’s not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”

I find this process of continual realization of impermanence to be painful. Not painful in a contracting way—painful in an opening way. Painful from the years of holding to a false reality. Painful to awaken to the knowing that all that I love and am will also dissolve, as will the wind, as will the mountains, as will this sentiment.

Somehow it’s both relieving and terrifying.

Either way, I’m in. I’m into life as it is. I don’t want to spend this life resisting. I choose to feel it, experience it, not shy away from it, and definitely not resisting it.

This is the practice of Solsara: engage fully with life AND let it be exactly what it is at the same time.

To this I dedicate my life.