The Beauty of Impermanence

by Jill Sockman

In classes lately, I’ve been talking about impermanence. We get it in theory- everything is always changing, we are always moving in one direction or another, nothing is static. But how do we really deal with it in practical terms, in real life? And how can we use our on-the-mat practice to practice dealing?

Like so many things, begin with a pause. To tune in we must stop everything else but present moment awareness. Stop moving, planning, thinking, doing, comparing, complaining, explaining, excusing, and just feel. What is the current State of the Union that is you? Put aside the history and the story, the conversation and inner dialogue and just feel what is happening in your body on a sensory level- physical and emotional. How much can you feel? And can you feel without judging?

Whether delighting in the most sublime tart sweetness of warm cherry pie, the slow burn of muscles working to hold you steady in a difficult yoga posture, or the heavy ache of grief and heartbreak, can you fully be with what is? Take one step away from the part of you that wants to get on the podium and offer an extended monologue about it, and just feel. Make a little space between the sensation and the you that is experiencing the sensation. Because the watching, witnessing you is the changeless, eternal presence that can abide the impermanence of this life.

Everything you are experiencing in this moment, can you lap it up, soak it in, feel it utterly and completely as an essential part of you and of your life? Is it amazing, blissful? Is it impossible, overwhelming? Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. Because in the scheme of time and life, it is just a moment, and will pass as surely as all the ones before it. The more we can align with the nature of life as change the more precious it all becomes. Fleeting moments, run together, to make a life.