Celebrate impermanence, ahhhh, one of my favorite sayings. It has become sort of a mantra around here. But a great thing to keep in mind when things are not going exactly the way we wish or think they should be going.
I was reminded of that this morning, watching the news for the weather report. The meteorologists were sequencing the weeks weather, here in early to mid-April, and pointing out that the temperature would stay 10-15 degrees below “normal” around our part of the world (Berkshires of Western Massachusetts). For the next few days, it would not get warmer than the mid 40’s, with rain and snowy mixes predicted for mid week.
“We just have to get through the next few days to the weekend, when it is going to be sunny and warm – almost to the mid-60’s,” they moaned cheerily. Hmmmm – I contemplated that for a bit. It did seem that most of the time what we want is to just get through the cold, rainy, gray times to get to the warm and sunny weather. We all were just waiting for the pleasant stuff and trying to hurry though the gloomy stuff.
And that reminded me of the Miss Universe pageant this year, when Steve Harvey inadvertently misread the card with the winner on it, and announced Miss Columbia as the winner. Then a couple minutes later, he realized his mistake, apologized, and announced the real winner, Miss Philippines. Miss Columbia said that “those 4 minutes were the happiest moments I ever had . . . . but then the worst night of my life.”
Clearly, happiness that depends on the outside world – whether it is a title, a job, a relationship, a windfall, or a compliment – is tenuous. Everything changes – in a heartbeat. We can’t really depend on anything to be there for us permanently – that’s the problem, and according to the Eastern Wisdom traditions, the cause of our suffering. We misidentify that which is impermanent, as permanent. We think that things we like a great job, our loving spouse or partner, our kids, our retirement accounts, our home, etc., will always be there for us. Then in a moment, something changes, and we realize, as Miss Universe did, that nothing is certain or permanent. Nothing in the world of form can bring lasting happiness.
What does this teach us? Happiness comes from within – from the True Self – that which cannot be named and is connected to all that there is. Where do we find it? Right here, right now. Nowhere else. Appreciate the moment. Get your attention in present time and be as fully present as possible – even on the gloomy days. Because there is wisdom and growth to be found in gloom – don’t miss it. Remember, April showers bring May flowers.