The turing a blind eye to impermanence in daily living experiences is a classic example of ignorance.

It’s important to note that “ignorance” in a Buddhist context refers not being lacking in information, but to a kind of playing dumb. It’s a mysterious kind of  not paying attention to specific things. The implication is definitely that the human mind and heart and perceptions are very broad and open, and that we have the potential to tune into this broadness and openness.

I’ve been writing on and off, less than systematically, about this kind of ignorance in terms of impermanence. Once again, I don’t have anything substantial to say about this in terms of conclusions. The basic point is that impermanence permeates every aspect of life (to the extent that you can say impermanence is a way of describing the chaotic and endless flurry of activity we tend to perceive as solid people, places, and things), and we systematically ignore this.

One thing I firmly believe in, and something I’ve learned from a few teachers, is that the “experiential” approach is valuable. In fact, this is one thing that separated my philosophical struggling in college from the years after. I also think it’s one reason my study after college was really different, more effective and sane, than my study in college.

You can think forever about what the soul is, what God is or does, but without some kind of experiential approach, like meditation, or prayer, it won’t go anywhere, in my opinion (or it’ll go in endless loops in your head, which is not generally helpful).

One point there is that, in terms of impermanence, both study and practice are important (but practice is very important, especially if you tend to like thinking and studying). So, I think, experiencing impermanence is valuable.

Sometimes it’s difficult, mostly because it’s so present and subtle. I think it’s important not to jump the gun, also: not to try to reach insights or conclusions to early about what change “means.”


About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

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