The shift to impermanence

The assumption that things will stay the same is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes and most illogical conclusions that we can hold onto as human beings. The goal to be in the moment is a lofty one, and not undertaken lightly or even recognized by all of us. However, when sought, we find, to our delight, that change is a constant in which we can find comfort - the disadvantage may improve, the gratitude for benefits is not taken for granted, and our perspective on reality can always be subject to revision, giving us an assurance of a certain mode of power that is in our grasp and unconditional. Studies have shown that people and groups of people are happiest when they don’t quite achieve satisfaction in everything they want. Wanting more, or different, is such a healthy recognition of the nature of change in existence. Embracing that opportunity to flow with change and likewise participate in its unfolding is the definition of healthy motivation. In order to become ‘unstuck’ from a sense of permanent, or the limitations it implies, we need to face certain topics:

  1. Death

  2. Taxes

  3. Monthly obligations

  4. Work

  5. Lack of imagination

  6. Fears

  7. Permission

These are loaded enough topics that the mere mention of their names is sufficient for the moment to instill stress, distress, objections, triggers, even anger. Mostly though, distractive excuses in the mind against addressing their roles in how our lives change - or stay the same. Acknowledging first, though, the idea of permanent arrangements: seeming obligations in our daily, weekly, monthly, annual, decades, lifetimes. This is an outmoded and outdated way of thinking based on gender roles, capitalist propaganda, advertising, peer pressure, the public education system, family values passed on (for better or for worse), and the most dangerous tendency toward self-limitation, which results in all of the aforementioned topics becoming stumbling blocks, even prisons, for our entire lifetimes. By freeing our minds, through a rigorous and lengthy process exercised in facts and actions, not philosophies, we can attain freedom in our physical lives as well, as many animals do without guilt or paying a dime into a company retirement fund. Impermanence is a clue, but not the whole answer, to this dilemma. It is defined as “the fact or quality of being temporary or short-lived”, and only our attitudes toward this characteristic of nature determines our success in life. How do we apply this to a change in lifestyle? Well, consider the monthly cost obligations we incur. Most of these we take for granted, because everyone else is doing it, or it is what is called for in the jurisdiction where we choose to situate ourselves, year after year. Monthly payments (financing or credit) amount to a huge debt obligation for North Americans (shocking compared to the GDP of their market). This is a result of living beyond means, and not being honest about what expenditures are necessary. People who struggle making ends meet, and providing the bare necessities are not necessarily devoid of disposable consumption, nor are they necessarily the most efficient with their resources. In North America, we see simultaneous excesses and poverty, overspending and lack of basic quality of needs being met, and it is a mental and emotional sickness. Many so-called third-world or developing nations feed their children better and manage their limited funds better than North American families, and their upward mobility is not even a factor of what jobs their pride allows them to do - or not do. To manage finances with the concept of impermanence, every expenditure needs to be on the chopping block, regardless of pride or the desire for convenience or comfort. For these things will change afterwards anyways, once freedom of the mind is attained. The recent changes in technology and modes of work, including entrepreneurship, have allowed a change in how many of us ‘show up’ for work, and the actual jobs and jurisdictions available to us. Working as an employee for a salary and a pension should not be the assumed goal in 2023, as it is not the trend or sustainable direction of demographics in a continually evolving globalist transformation. Sorry. The economy is also not your friend, so subscribing to the accepted narrative of how we participate in markets and ownership of assets and savings, payment of taxes, etc., is also at your own peril. Things are set up to move wealth like a funnel, from the broad population who toils and struggles, to those in-the-know about how finances work, and who know how to capitalize on others. This is not a commentary on capitalism, rather the opposite. The very system that allows societies to be built requires risk and capital and organization and smarts to be deployed among a disorganized and undisciplined mass, which has been done the world over in various configurations. Whatever your view on capitalism or socialism or politics in general, it can be assumed at least that ignorance and laziness does not achieve self-preservation, success, or profit. It merely allows us to live detached, by default, and do what everyone else does, by our best effort we are willing to commit. This is satisfactory for many, and I can’t judge the approach, except to say that it is not sufficient for me as an individual, and I don’t recommend it. I am a contrarian, because my imagination never allowed me a minute’s rest from asking “what if” as I was growing up. In adult life, I am dissatisfied with many of the assumed compromises that I am repeatedly told are necessary evils of the world. Whenever I open my eyes to a new place or new people, I see people breaking the rules or stereotypes, doing things differently, often from necessity, and nonetheless happy. So I challenge the status quo wherever I go, and encourage others to do the same, no matter how unpopular it may be, as long as we are spreading love, joy, community, productivity, growth, and imagination. Either others will catch up, or they will die miserable, never knowing the difference. This is the thing about impermanence, we either embrace it or fight it in a mental and emotional prison. We don’t eliminate it, whatever we try to do. Life begins and life ends. In between there is acceptance and motivation and action with one  spirit or another. Once we settle on a better definition of what we need and don’t need, and become willing to accept the changes in between, we can travel lighter through life. We can take the rocks out of our backpacks and stop pushing boulders up hills so others can live in masonry mansions made from our toil. We can recapture simple pleasures, live sustainably within our means and by our own choices. We can form our own opinions from experiencing life, rather than judging it from narratives formed on television and social media. We can unlock the potentials of our hearts to love and share the benefits of life with others, experience true gratitude, and die happy knowing we really lived and allowed others to live better as a result of visiting this temporary planet we call home. So what is home, really? A permanent building we pay off for 25 years with labor? A safe place that protects us from life’s ups and downs? What if we truly defined it as “where the heart is” and expanded that place to a constantly growing and impermanent platform that is already all around us, begging us to explore. That is why we are here, and do what we are doing together. To share the joy with you all. Thank-you for the opportunity.