The Three Marks of Existence

EVERYTHING is impermanent. Jobs, relationships, good times, hard times, loved ones, our own life, and even the universe itself will end. The problem is that we know this and yet we continue to cling to things as if they were permanent because we want these thing to last (at least during our lifetime). When we truly understand impermanence, the less we cling to outcomes and expectations. That doesn’t mean its suddenly easy when we lose a job, or a loved one, it just means that the recovery from suffering will go more smoothly when we learn to see things as they really are, impermanent.

Spend some time thinking about impermanence. Find what areas you currently cling to because you expect them to last. Does the clinging affect the desired outcomes or expectations? What happens if you recognize that everything is impermanent?

Non Self (Interconnectivity)
The Buddhist teachings of interconnectivity ask us to explore the reality of objects and their connection to ourselves more than any other teaching I know of. The main idea here is that EVERYTHING is interconnected. Nothing that exists, including you, exists in and of itself, without dependencies, and as a single, permanent thing. Everything about us is in constant change from the trillions of cells that make up our body, to the multitude of processes that create thoughts, emotions, reactions, opinions, and beliefs. We are not static objects, we are works in progress, with mind-boggling complex processes that all depend on each other. Remember: change is the only constant!

Suffering is a natural part of living. While we try to do everything in our power to avoid suffering, the reality is that we can’t avoid it. Instead we should learn to pause and pay close attention to the fact that suffering is a common bond among all humans. By understanding that others suffer just like you suffer, you can start to develop compassion for yourself and others. Pay close attention to yourself and how you react to various forms of suffering, then pay attention to how others respond and act when they are experiencing suffering.



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