I learned about this concept in my class called Love and Forgiveness and it really stuck with me.
Impermanence is a largely Buddhist and Hindu concept. It is the idea that nothing last forever. Things, people, and feelings change and decay. Everything evolves and nothing stays the same. I don’t know much about the core beliefs of Buddhist or Hindu individuals but it seems the only way to remain happy in an ever-changing world is to learn to be content with every moment and to not depend so heavily on others for our own happiness.
The concept of impermanence brings being present to a whole new level. Our world is so fast-paced that it’s hard to pay attention to each moment. We are constantly thinking about what we are going to do or dwelling on what was done in the past. We take the time we have in the present for granted. It’s no wonder that the divorce and infidelity rates are so high. We spend so much time dwelling on how our spouses used to be and living in our dreams, that when our spouse doesn’t meet our expectations, we feel disappointed and often seek an individual who can live up to our expectations.
The “happily ever after” syndrome is another example of not living in the present. It’s not realistic to always feel the passion we felt early on in the relationship. That passion was most likely related more to infatuation than it was to love. I have been with my husband for three years and we’ve been married over 8 months. Sometimes I feel the need to take more time for myself and I distance myself from him, other times I crave quality time with him; he has his own cycles. Feelings in relationships run in cycles; they ebb and flow and that’s absolutely normal. It’s too much to expect to remain in a constant emotional state. Last night, I found a quote about impermanence that really spoke to me.
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet, this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of time and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom. The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was, nor forward to what it might be, but living in the present and accepting it as it is now. For relationships, too, must be like islands. One must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands surrounded and interrupted by the sea, continuously visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the serenity of the winged life, of ebb and flow, of intermittency. –Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I think this quote is fantastic. This woman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was the mother of “The Lindbergh Baby”. I didn’t know that before I read this quote but I still think that she was an amazing woman.
All of this has given me some insight about my own dependence on others for my sense of acceptance and my own happiness. My husband may never cheat on me and our marriage may never end in divorce but what happens if he developsand no longer recognizes me? What happens if he meets an untimely death? I don’t like talking of these things, but if all of my sense of self is wrapped up in my relationship with him, I won’t know who I am or how to be happy if for some reason he is no more.
This has given me more inspiration to take advantage of the present moment and to be grateful for the time I have right now. My life may not be perfect but it’s all it was ever supposed to be. There’s no use dwelling on the past or looking toward the future for my happiness. My happiness lies in the moment right now.