Happiness and Impermanence

By Adam J. Pearson


Photography by Rodney Smith

Whenever I’ve made my happiness dependent on anything else or anyone else, I’ve always suffered. No impermanent reality can satisfy a permanent need; placing conditions on our happiness creates permanent needs that an impermanent universe can never satisfy.

If I enjoy what is here while it is here, but keep its impermanence in mind, then I can create much less suffering for myself.  The red leaf falls from the autumn tree. I pick it up and marvel at its beauty, but as I do, a gust of wind blows it from my palm. If I do not cling, I do not suffer; the leaf is as impermanent as my own body. My body and the leaf, and the wind, and the awareness in which they are seen are one. I smile and walk away.

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