The leaves are changing color, a little later than usual in the North Country of Vermont. Fall is here and winter inexorably behind. Cool nights attest to this transition, as the living world of flora gets ready to go to sleep. It’s impermanence in action with an artist’s palette.
It was a glorious summer. Warm, wet, and wild. We saw record rainfall; we saw massive destruction with Hurricane Irene. The world seems unsettled. Not just turning gently from one thing to the next. Violence is, perhaps, not too strong of a term. And yet, the warm days of late September have been still; the restless winds of summer quieting for a moment.
Fall is the time of year that embodies the Buddha’s teaching of impermanence the clearest. The Buddha pointed out that things are constantly changing, including what we take to be “me.” Nothing exists other than change–is the radical reading of the impermanence teaching.
Surely, some things exist outside of change? If you know of something, I’d like to hear about it. The universe is changing; the sun, the earth, changing. The weather, itself a changing pattern, is changing (and apparently for the worse). We are changing, moment-by-moment; breathing, moving, digesting, talking, thinking, et cetera make up who are. And there is nothing other than these changing processes. So, we are challenged to go with this flow (and be happy) or resist it,by wanting it to be some other way (and thereby not be happy).
Bliss is found kissing this moment as it moves by. Kissing it hello and good-bye. Embracing it with an open heart, but releasing that embrace before it becomes clinging.
If you are in a place where the colors are changing or will be changing soon, enjoy this transition and let it teach you about impermanence. Let it show you the freedom that comes when we can open to the unfolding of each moment without getting caught up with trying to hold it still. Bliss won’t be far behind.