Robert J. Wicks, psychologist and bestselling author of Riding the Dragon, recently told me a story about impermanence:
A psychiatrist (Epstein) went to Thailand with some colleagues to meet a well-known Buddhist sage. As they were about to leave they asked if he had a final message for them.
He was drinking a glass of water at the time so he held it up and said, “You see this glass. I love this glass. It holds water so I can drink from it.”
He then held it up to the light and said, “When the sun shines through it you can see colors.”
“It also plays music.” He set it down and pinged it with his finger to make a noise.
“Then when I set it down, the wind blows through the window, knocks it over, and breaks it,” he said. “And because I know this possibility to be true, I love this glass even more.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about impermanence lately.
It is the one thing that gives me hope when I am in severe pain, and a concept that grounds me when I lose track of what’s important.
All things change. Even those emotions and situations that you are 100 percent certain are permanent, like treatment-resistant depression or a chronic illness or a hole in your heart left by the death of a loved one.