All that is dear to me and everyone I love are the nature to change.
There is no way to keep from being separated from them.
The remembrances of the Buddha shift with the fourth statement. They’re not facts of human existence (aging, illness, death), but rather an acknowledgement of the outward changes in our environment. With this statement we move away from the self and to speak of others.
I’m pretty good with accepting getting older, sicker, and dying. But it’s change with others and my situation that has often caused me the most trouble. Sudden, dramatic changes can throw me for a loop. The end of a relationship can especially do this. When my girlfriend dumped me in 2011 it hit me hard, especially considering we had only been going out for five months. So much so that I tried to kill myself. Looking back now I find it amazing this was my reaction, but I’ve learned that losing close connections to others is a triggering experience for me.
Nowadays I remind myself that when change occurs, it’s a matter of how the world works. I don’t always like it, but what can I do to stop it? Others’ actions caused change in my life that has disappointed and scared me. Just the same, I’m sure I’ve caused change in their lives that has made them uncomfortable.
But if I take a step back and look at the full scope of my life, I see that disruption and change are the nature of my existence. People move, you get laid off from a job, pets die. I’ve learned now that the fact of the matter is that most of your relationships will end, until there’s one that doesn’t. The closeness we have with our family and friends may change as we move and grow in our lives. These are inevitable. Look at not only your life, but the lives of others you know. No doubt major changes have occurred with all them.
It’s a daily struggle to accept that things don’t stay the same. With each new thought of frustration about things out of our control, we have to take up that struggle once again to come to some tolerance of our situation. Life isn’t always out of our hands, though. We do have a way to handle these frustrating experiences when they occur. The final remembrance of the Buddha has helped me a great deal and I’ll explore that in the next post.
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