An advantage in seeing impermanence as the nature of existence is in the knowing that all things pass. While we often grieve over this passing, there are many blessings to knowing that we are in movement, life is in movement, so even the difficult problems of our culture are in movement.
Many people are stressed by the choices being made by the US, and especially the President, at this time in history. They seem to be permanently destructive to the future of our country and the world environment. And yet there have been many dark turning points in this country – beginning with the Indian massacres, forcing Mexico out of California, slavery, the civil war, the depression and the dust bowl, two world wars, Vietnam– to name just a few. Our ancestors have all been through events similar to those that cause us fear. Nothing has ever been permanent.
As a country we are often in turmoil because of the push for power, greed, and the division of minds. Yet there have been gradual improvements in human care and responsibility – freeing slaves, laws against child labor, allowing women the vote, social security, education, easier transportation and communication, etc. etc. Historically, most other countries have known the same or worse turmoil over centuries (e.g. Germany, Japan, China), but experienced gradual movement to support their people.
It is paradoxical that most of the individuals we know personally long for peace and love within themselves and the world, and are generally kind to one another. They value families and friends. And yet as a collective this is rarely reflected, and positive change seems to be so slow.
We live in a world of opposites, continually shifting and emerging with new perspectives. An awakened mind can see a larger picture – an expansive, never-ending but always changing movement through time. We are the movement, the life that brings transformation. Our pain forces us to see what is needed, and brings many into positive action. Just as when we are wounded physically we must seek help for the body, when we are a wounded culture we must seek solutions. It does not serve us when our minds only bring us to despair, and our thinking is clouded with anger and fear. It does not serve us personally or serve our culture when our hearts close down with bitterness.
Negative thoughts are rarely real and true – they are based on emotional reactions and our accumulated convictions of what ought to be. They are neurons firing stored information interwoven with our discomfort. Our awareness becomes entangled with thought, and limited by it.
This is why awakened people often stress living in the now. Now is what is in front of you this moment, and is always present as Now. It may be a beautiful garden. Today for me it is a smoky sky in Oregon hovering over a pond and garden. It is difficulty breathing outdoors. It is the computer before me. It is also good neighbors and a safe house and good health. Tomorrow it may change.
For you today it may be work that needs to be done, or a child that needs to be fed and dressed, or a piece of art you are inclined to create, or a desire to help in a political campaign. We each stand in a unique place in the Now. Look around and define what is here for you in this moment. Your presence is part of this Now. Your True Nature is always Now!
We are always in motion in this Now-ness. The question to ask yourself is will you move from your own center and for the greatest good (either your own inner peace or to assist another) or be contracted by a fearful mind? Will you be what you are fully in this moment, or be entangled by thoughts that bring you down? Yes, you are impermanent, but change can be positive and where you are Now has a big impact on what happens next..
We cannot afford to let the world issues, even those created by our own government, block our freedom to love, enjoy and create a meaningful life. In our choices and movement we can respond in a way that feels authentic to us, and trust that slowly, since all is impermanent, change will come. When there is smoke in the skies remember that it will be clear again. Be like those firefighters who meet it in service to all of us.