Ruminations 1: Impermanent Things Make Me Happy
It is precisely because impermanent, conditioned phenomena are unsatisfying that we are motivated to awaken. Seeing these characteristics clearly becomes the cause of and condition for liberation.
- Joseph Goldstein, “The End of Suffering”
NO! this is simply not true for me. If everything was the same all the time, if nothing ever changed, I would go completely insane. I LOVE that conditioned things change. Impermanent, conditioned things that change are hugely satisfying. I love to see the cause and effect of change, the before and after, to understand it.
Suffering, for me is everything staying the same. I wouldn’t be happy being happy all the time. It’s really exhausting. I need down time from happiness. I need to be blue, morose, negative, sometimes. I need to cycle from negative to positive, from happiness to unhappiness and back again, so that I appreciate the difference. Negativity is a huge source of my creativity. It makes me far more creative than being deliriously blissed out all the time. It gives me things to think about, situations to work with, problems to solve.
But I don’t want to be unhappy all the time. I need CHANGE. I totally dig impermanence. Impermanence and change is DIFFERENCE. Difference is the essence of music, distinguishing one note from another. If I only heard one note or one chord all the time, I would go insane; it’s extremely irritating. I’ve heard music that is written like that, and I makes me very tense; it drives me crazy because there is no resolution. It’s always THE ONE CHORD. So then I just want it to stop. Difference is the essence of art, of distinguishing colours and shapes, arranging them in patterns and compositions. Difference is the essence of all material reality, producing countless billions of different species on this planet. That’s what make nature so astounding and so beautiful.
From a psychological perspective, what motivates me to awaken is things not changing. It’s being stuck, feeling like nothing is ever going to change, improve, or get better. it’s that things don’t change that leads to a sense of hopelessness and despair. Permanence sucks; impermanence is the spice of life—it makes life enjoyable, fascinating, full of surprises.
KILL THE DHARMA! But see? It’s by killing the dharma that I realize what it is that I really love, what I really believe in. It makes me see life from the opposite perspective, and then I really appreciate it.