From impermanence to love

It’s never a coincidence, of course, when two messages with similar meanings come across your path on the same day. Here’s what I got in the last 24 hours:

“The amazing thing about impermanence is that the realization of it opens up in you the dimension of space or stillness, when it is not resisted. This is why many spiritual teachings point to the fact of impermanence of all form as a teaching device, because the moment you see how fleeting everything is—and don’t resist it—something in you feels spacious and peaceful.” — Eckhart Tolle

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” — Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday morning as I stepped out of home for work, my mom made a particularly hurtful comment. I brushed it away at the time, but the tears ambushed me in the car later. I acknowledged my bruised feelings, and resolved to feel better by doing activities that gave me confidence. Then, later in the day, I got these two messages.

Once you accept the impermanence of things, everything changes. The relationship becomes a chapter in a book, which will come to a close some day. The day’s circumstances are its paragraphs, bound to change tone, mood and rhythm every now and then. The hurtful comment itself becomes a mere comma. Or maybe a semi-colon.

What’s a little punctuation in the massive library of eternity?

I’d once made a resolution to hug my parents twice a day, before leaving for work and after getting back. But because our relationship is unpredictably turbulent, I haven’t been consistent about it. Today morning, a round of intense chanting charged me up with positive intentions. And so, despite the chilled silence between mom and I, I went up to her, gave her a hug and a peck on the cheek before leaving home.

Ultimately, I decided, this particular identity, circumstance, even life will end. What will remain is the love, from one existence to the other. We are bound to every other person in our lives, and to the entire planet, in the same way that waves are part of the sea. May as well spread the love while I am alive and have the opportunity to do my karma.

As I walked out the door, I saw it. There’s no doubt about it. There, on the side of her face, in the little corner of her mouth where her lips meet and her cheek wrinkles its intentions, there it was. A tiny, little, undeniable hint of a smile.


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