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      The Second Reminder: Impermanence and Death

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The Second Reminder: Impermanence and Death

This reminder hinges on stepping away from the complacency of our lives and recognizing the one undeniable fact, everyone must die.

This means our friends, our lovers, our parents and our family. Our pets, our dreams, our works, our homes, our thoughts and yes – ourselves.


How do you embrace this and not fall into a life of despair and hopelessness?

By knowing that impermanence is part and parcel of living. The trees grow, leaves come out in spring and by fall they are on the ground.

The beautiful hard wood desk was once a tree. It changed and now is my desk. And yet – it’s not permanent.

This is really very good news. My thoughts feel permanent when I am angry and reliving over and over the story line I’ve grown accustomed to.

Even adding bits and pieces to what I should have said and could say in the future.

But, in truth my thoughts are impermanent. If I stop feeding them, they come and go just like the clouds covering the vast blue sky.

The upset with my friend will dissolve if I cease feeling it with new creations. As will the pitter patter of a new love affair if I try to freeze frame it.

Everything is impermanent and will die. Actually this is wonderful news. It means that each moment of our life can be fresh. Each moment can stand on its own. Unique and full of life.

For each moment, unencumbered by a past or a future fueled by hope or fear, is life.

And life is what is permanent. Not the stories, not the costumes of ourselves, nor our shelters.

If we keep on our right shoulder a little reminder that says, “today I may die” our life becomes fresh. We embrace everyone in front of us newly because we have that little voice that reminds us. Today might be the last time I see him.

We are unwilling to divide the world into them and us. We see that each of us wishes, at our core, to be happy. We let go of petty problems as a start to holding this reminder in our heart.

We can step out into our world, recognizing that we now have the courage to be open, genuine and fun. Knowing that what was yesterday is gone, we have the golden opportunity to start each moment, newly. Without the hangover of the past and without the fears of what tomorrow may bring.

It takes lots of practice. It takes courage. And it takes the willingness to know that those people who make up your world might not be seeing this new person in front of them.

They will work to put you back in the box of your past persona. The box that was crabby or sharp witted or sad. Just keep listening to that voice, reminding you … today I might die.

And eventually your family will see you. And you will feel more alive each day!

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Copyright 2011 This article may not be reprinted or published without permission from Emily Gems.

No claims are made. These alleged powers are gathered from writing, books, folklore and various sources.