Mindfulness as An Ally for Impermanence

One spring afternoon in 1977 we were mind experimenting in the lush and aromatic garden of the Living Love Center in Berkeley. It was the last week of a 28 day retreat called “The Road to Happiness” led by Ken Keyes, Jr. author of Handbook to Higher Consciousness.

Ken had challenged us “to be in the present moment” while simultaneously running a story line of our past.

After much frustration, discussion, laughter and many false starts it was determined that being in the moment and running a past story line couldn’t be done.

Our mind experimenting, however, wasn’t for naught. As we studied the mind we experienced how impermanence is permanent. We grokked that change is continually afoot as Leonard Cohen wrote,

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my Love
And, my Love, Goodbye.. 

How we live with this eternal impermanence is dependent on how we choose our allies to view our unfolding world. This choice of how we view our lives decides if we are on the Dissolving Path or the Evolving Path.

Swift Change and Slow-Moving Change
Just like the many different names for the textures of snow, I find there are different names for change. Lately I have been focusing on two. In both types of change we live in the unknown.

One is called Swift Change.
It happens without warning. Swift Change is a Beloved unexpectedly dying or being let go without warning from a job. We ride the moment with acceleration and alertness. Our body is up-regulated with adrenalin. We do what the next best thing is. Monkey Mind is asleep at the wheel and, therefore, cannot unleash the stories that create fear of the unknown. Why? Because there is no fear… because there is no unknown. We are living in “what is”.

The second I call Slow-Moving Change.
It is seen from a distance steadfastly moving in our direction. Slow-Moving Change is paved with distractions of what could be and, thus, magnetizes all that surrounds it with tension and fear. It is Monkey Minds favorite change. As we wait for “it” to happen, Monkey Mind up-regulates the body inviting Fixed Mindset to quickly create safety to the detriment of life.

What is the Antidotal Ally? Mindfulness!
How do we implement mindfulness? One way is to transform Monkey Mind into Beginner’s Mind.

How to witness your impermanent life through Beginner’s Mind?

With your eyes closed, settle your body and mind with deep inhales followed by deep exhales. After the settling, slowly open your eyes. With conscious wonder, surprise and anticipation view your life as first time new. What do you notice?

Beginner’s Mind is spacious. Curiosity arises. Imagination is activated. Beginner’s Mind witnesses and as a result our bodies, minds and hearts thrive. Trust expands. Our life embraces impermanence with the excitement of Beginner’s Mind!

Develop your mindfulness muscle. Practice this simple process. Practice, practice, practice… and keep us posted!

With a deep bow to every… single… thing…!

Ann-Marie McKelvey

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