The Interbeing of Happiness and Impermanence

Photo: Faded tombstones, Trinity Church, Manhattan, NYC

This week, The Anacortes Mindfulness Community considered how happiness and impermanence inter-are. 

When we first encounter the Buddha’s teachings on impermanence, they can feel like a slap in the face: We're going to lose everything we love, everyone we love, and, eventually, ourselves. Nothing exists outside life’s ever-changing nature, even though we all secretly believe the universe will make an exception for us. 

In reality, impermanence is good news. It is a gateway to happiness. Without impermanence, we would not be able to transform our suffering. There would be no hope of breaking the habitual unskillful reactions we have to life. And because impermanence also applies to our happiness, we are unable to grasp onto any particular experience and call it ‘me’ or ‘mine.’ Impermanence invites us instead to water seeds of happiness in every moment as we enjoy each step, each breath, each glimpse of the vast blue sky. When we water seeds of happiness in this way, we are not only happy in the here and now, but we create conditions for happiness in the future. 

Next week (May 28th, 6:00-8:00 pm) we’ll continue our discussion of the 5 Mindfulness Trainings to prepare for our transmission ceremony on August 24th. We’ll look next at the Second Mindfulness Training, Generosity. You can read the Mindfulness Trainings here. Please print and bring your own copy for our ongoing study.

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