Relaxing with things as they are is the first step to understanding the nature of impermanence.  It runs counter to everything we strive for.  We work for outcomes, goals, and successes.  We have children to raise them and live for tomorrow like there is no today.  At the same time we resist change, aging, all forms of uncertainty and impermanence.

But what of today, now, this moment, if this is impermanent, and going to inevitably change into the next moment and the next, can we RELAX with things as they are?  Can we enjoy and embrace this moment knowing that it will never be the same?

Meditation is a study in impermanence.  Sitting still, breathing, developing the concentration and discipline to pay close attention to the moment while relaxing at the same time.  If this isn’t challenging enough we have those pesky thoughts about the past and the future that come racing through the mind when we are working so diligently on relaxing in the moment. 

 

This is the big opportunity to relate to the “nature of impermanence”. 

As we begin to notice while we sit and breathe we can CHOOSE not to latch on to any particular thought for too long and even take a step back and observe.  One thought will eventually disappear and another will take it’s place, and so on and again.

We can liken these thoughts to disturbances or we can open up our awareness to see them as so many clouds moving across a big sky, constantly changing shape, size and color, never staying the same.There is a moment that we realize we don’t have to always keep it together, where we can relax, let go and just rest in the moment as enough. 

Practice:

Find a comfortable spot where you can stare at the sky, a window seat, a grassy field, the beach or a cozy porch chair.

Let your body relax by taking three deep breaths from your toes to the crown of your head and back again.

Allow the breath to fall into its own natural rhythm saying “inhale” to yourself as you breathe in and “exhale” as you breathe out.  Once a steady soft rhythm is established let go of the words and take your awareness to the sky.  Notice the colors, shapes and textures of what you see always touching back down on the exhale.  As you begin to relax into the moment, into the big sky awareness the thoughts will begin to flow.  Don’t resist them, OBSERVE them, notice what the thought is about, is it fear, or anticipation, past or future?  Once you have it, mentally place that thought on a plane, or a star or a cloud up in the sky, take a deep breath and on the exhale let it float on by. 

Play with it, enjoy the moment, and “relax gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change!”  (excerpt from Pema Chodron’s Comfortable With Uncertainty)

 

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