"Impermanence protects us." ~ HUH?! (The Essence of the I Ching)

I'm cruising a favorite bookstore, nosing through the seductive shelves. In the Religion/Spirituality section, I spy several titles by Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön. Here is a photo of Pema's face:

Mercy, those eyes! Mercy: those eyes. 

How could I resist her words. From the dozens of Pema-book spines, I pulled one from a shelf.  First phrase I read?

Impermanence protects us. 


That was me. 

I nearly fell down. My eyes hit the ceiling and I thought, I'm gonna faint. You know it's bad when I think gonna.

An idea goes straight to your core, then melts it. This is the antithesis to Cupid's arrow. This is a whack upside the soul. This is a whack that fucks you up and wakes you up with all the Love in Creation. 

This is a truth that's never occurred to you. And occur it does, like lightning inside a tornado. You're the house that's been hit. You're Kansas, not Oz. There's no Oz here -- this is truth. 

Impermanence protects us. 

I had to sit down. Nowhere near but the floor, so boom. I went down hard, book in hand. 

Impermanence protects us. 

I went down so hard because I got it. Or should I say, It got me. 

Ideas and truths can get you like that. One minute you're just your silly old self, ogling books on a shelf; the next ... you're a nebula, blown. 

That's change

Shit happens, and so goes grace. 
Lousy weather passes, and so do days of perfect balm. 

Oh God, what a weird relief.    

Everything is changing all the time.
Even me. 
Even you. 
Even us.  

"Impermanence protects us" means that anything can happen, including the good. I learned today that our brains are hardwired for threat, and that our innate tendency, as homo sapiens, is to look for danger, just as all our animal cousins do. 

The imperative to survive is the hottest coal in the core fire of our brain stem. 

Life does what it will with us, and we react. Change happens; we react. 

Think about the last time you were knocked off your feet in one way or another. Maybe you tripped up a step. Maybe you got some news that floored you -- a pregnancy yearned for, a lottery win, the death of someone you love. Maybe the love of your life swept you to bed. Maybe you stood on a quake fault as it shook. Maybe someone cradled you in such cherishment that you melted for the first time in your life, body and soul; every fear hushed, softened like a June afternoon, suspended in a sweetness of pure safety, in a faith that knows in its bones ... 

All fears pass.

For every fear, there's a faith. 

For every faith, there's a fear. 

Back and forth, back and forth, and through all points between. 

Sunny days; stormy days. They all pass. Middling days; chirpy days. Days of ruin and restoration. Hours, minutes, moments, seconds. 


We are the changers, and the changed. 
We are agents of change; we are change's playthings. 
We move, and are moved. 
Everything that happens begins, middles, and ends.   





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