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What’s the Point of Remembering Impermanence?

Why remember impermanence?
Episode No. 157

We’re often told to think of impermanence, but why? What’s that going to do for us? Shambhavi gives a dharma talk about the benefits of remembering impermanence and preparing for the eternal. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

I’m going to talk about something I rarely ever talk about which is impermanence. I talked to a Buddhist on the phone today and that reminded me! No, actually it’s the leaves turning that reminded me. And one of the extraordinary things about moving to the East Coast after so many years on the West Coast is that shock of just watching everything die. The extremeness of the seasons here. We have seasons on the West Coast, but nothing like this.

So in a hundred years or so everyone that’s here—every single person on the planet—will be gone. And what should we make of that? It’s not just about waving a finger at someone and saying, “You know, you’re going to die.” When we think of our impermanence, what is it that we hope to get out of remembering impermanence? What should we do about remembering impermanence? How should we relate to that idea, or certainty?

Most of you know I visited my father last weekend. He’s 90, and he’s not in good health. He has a cascading number of health issues. But he’s resisting that as hard as he possibly can. So he doesn’t want anyone to know what condition he’s in. He doesn’t want people to relate to him as someone with infirmities. He’s also in some ways lying to himself about his condition. He doesn’t want to be associated with old people.