The moral ambiguity of human existence

As human beings we share a tendency to scramble for certainty whenever we realize that everything around us is in flux. In difficult times the stress of trying to find solid ground—something predictable and safe to stand on—seems to intensify. But in truth, the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. Everything keeps... Continue Reading →

The greater view

A friend of mine has been taking care of her ninety-three-year-old mother. The doctors say that her mother will die any day. For more than a year, my friend has been teaching her mother meditation exercises that have been very helpful. She began by watering the seeds of happiness in her mother, and now her... Continue Reading →

The ephemeral world

We have the capacity to be awake and to see the world as it is with a graciousness and an understanding.As the poet Mary Oliver writes, "To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends... Continue Reading →

We can’t hold on to anything

We are uncomfortable because everything in our life keeps changing -- our inner moods, our bodies, our work, the people we love, the world we live in. We can't hold on to anything -- a beautiful sunset, a sweet taste, an intimate moment with a lover, our very existence as the body/mind we call self... Continue Reading →

Stop postponing living

Subconsciously we are lured by the expectation that we will reach a stage where we don’t have to fix anything ever again. One day we will reach “happily ever after.” We are convinced of the notion of “resolution.” It’s as if everything that we’ve experienced up until now, our whole lives to this moment, was... Continue Reading →

Sound of impermanence

There would be no chance at all of getting to know death if it happened only once. But fortunately, life is nothing but a continuing dance of birth and death, a dance of change. Every time I hear the rush of a mountain stream, or the waves crashing on the shore, or my own heartbeat,... Continue Reading →

Appreciating the whole cycle

We usually appreciate only half of the cycle of impermanence. We can accept birth but not death, accept gain but not loss, or the end of exams but not the beginning True liberation comes from appreciating the whole cycle and not grasping onto those things that we find agreeable.By remembering the changeability and impermanence of... Continue Reading →

Accepting ourselves & others

It can be difficult to accept others and to accept ourselves. "I should be better. I should be something different. I should have more." All of this is conception; it's all mental fabrication. It's just the mind churning up "shoulds," "ought tos," and "supposed tos." All this is conceptual rubbish, and yet we believe it.... Continue Reading →

Change is inevitable

We know that all is impermanent; we know that everything wears out. Although we can buy this truth intellectually, emotionally we have a deep-rooted aversion to it. We want permanence; we expect permanence. Our natural tendency is to seek security; we believe we can find it. We experience impermanence at the everyday level as frustration.... Continue Reading →

Uncertainty of Life

This anxiety or queasiness in the face of impermanence isn’t something that afflicts just a few of us; it’s an all-pervasive state that human beings share. But rather than being disheartened by the ambiguity, the uncertainty of life, what if we accepted it and relaxed into it? What if we said, “Yes, this is the... Continue Reading →

Awakening is a genuine option

What are the experiences that the teachings of the Buddha are founded on? They are sadness, love, and openness. Although they appear to be quite different, sadness and openness are in fact intimately connected. The profound sadness that overwhelms us when we understand the impermanent nature of all phenomena opens us up to the world... Continue Reading →

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