I've spent a lot of time today reflecting on loss and impermanence. It's such an essential component of our human lives and something that we tend to try to deflect, defer, or block out. It's impossible not to think about what I would do in these situations, and impossible not to think about how small my concerns this week really are.
Paradoxically (from our distracted everyday mind's view) it is only by focusing on loss -- the core of being human -- that we become more free. It takes tremendous energy to constantly be blocking out reality. The blunt language of this text is the tool that helps free up that energy and bring more awareness of the present moment. How things are now. Because they will inevitably change.
The Buddha's Five Remembrances (Thich Nhat Hanh's version)
I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.
I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.