During the Vispassana course, Guruji (the teacher) said “Nothing is permanent. Things are constantly changing” and he repeated these words several times a day throughout the entire course. Although I heard the words daily, I didn’t really ‘hear’ them until the seventh day—that was the day I ‘woke up’ and started to see things differently. Up until that point, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve had this fear in my life about permanency. I believe all humans are in a perpetual process of becoming never simply being, as we are constantly learning and growing. Yet, I couldn’t shake the thought that if I wasn’t constantly moving and changing what I was doing, I would get sucked into the vortex of permanency! As the days passed, I began to focus more and more intently on my breath going in and out, in and out. I observed each moment rising and passing, rising and passing until eventually it just clicked! “Nothing IS permanent. Things ARE constantly changing”. With this new understanding my eyes shot open in the middle of my meditation. “Oh my God”, I thought. “I’ve spent my entire life running away from this idea of permanency only to learn it doesn’t even exist! HA.” The lunch bell rang and once dismissed, I started pacing around the grounds reviewing this new breakthrough of impermanence.
For one, I realized most people think they are living stable, routine lives when, in actuality, they’re not. Things are constantly changing – one day someone could be in your life and they next day they could be gone. You could show up to work and be offered a promotion or you could be fired. While driving your ‘usual’ route to the grocery store, you could get a flat tire or get rear-ended. Stability and permanency don’t exist in this world because the dynamics of the game are constantly changing, whether we want them too or not. We are all on this ‘a-maze-ing’ journey, which is very much like a maze. Though you may have an idea of the destination, the route is never concrete. All we can ever see is the next few steps ahead of us and one can’t see around the corner until they GO around the corner. Then the next few steps are revealed. Sometimes you hit dead ends and sometimes you encounter short-cuts, but you never see the whole way. And while some might think they want all the answers, you really don’t want to see the whole way or know everything ahead of time. One achieves great satisfaction in overcoming the challenge and discovering the path. THAT’S what provides the real happiness and fulfillment every human being is searching for. Consider you’re not uncovering your full potential if you knew the answer to every question… The REAL thing people gain from challenge is not the stuff they get, but WHO they become. “Challenges and obstacles present all of us with the opportunity to grow and improve and learn, and step outside our comfort zone and experience what life truly has to offer” – Layne Beachley, seven time world-champion surfer.
When I ‘got’ that “nothing is permanent and things are constantly changing” I began to understand why there is no reason to react. Instead one simply observes, since you know ‘this too shall pass’ and eventually it does because… things are constantly changing!
When I left Vipassana, I was overcome with an enormous amount of peace. I decided to sit still for a while and for the first time in my life, I felt comfortable doing so because well, nothing is permanent! Ashutosh invited me to stay with him as long as I wish and I am deeply grateful for his hospitality. Not only that, but we’ve become good friends. The house is always filled with laughter and thought provoking discussions; additionally, he’s quickly latched onto most of my habits. He’s now an advocate for plant-based eating, he’s registered for Landmark, and he’s committed to a new schedule which includes time (daily) for playing his guitar – something he’s very passionate about. It’s amazing to watch him not only ‘do the work’, but see the results from his actions! On weekends we enjoy taking road trips to the surrounding wonders. Last weekend, for example, we drove 6 hours north to explore the fabulous ancient ruins in Ajanta and Ellora.
I really like Pune, the city in which I’m staying. Despite encountering the occasional snake charmer, living here almost makes me forget that I’m in India because the culture and people are very chill. As well, it’s nice to feel part of a community. Shop owners know me, I’ve made many friends who I meet with frequently, I joined a yoga studio which I attend daily, and I’ve been assisting and coaching a variety of people. My life’s existence is about serving others and watching people transform their life brings me tremendous joy!
Staying still has provided me the opportunity to organize the book project and create a timeline. I have connected with a publisher and would like to have the final draft done soon. As such, I am excited to announce that February 13th, 2015 is the LAST day I will accept submissions for the book. So to all those women who said they are working on their testimonies, you have 3 weeks to get your submissions in! Time to get those sweet buns into gear, so we can collectively share our wisdom with the world!
For guidelines about your submission, please refer to the “The Book” tab on my blog and if you have any direct questions or concerns, drop me an email!
Nothing is permanent. Things are constantly changing. Ha, who knew?!