Lessons on Impermanence
I had just gotten back from a week long meditation retreat where I spent 8 hours each day meditating and watching the changing nature of everything–sounds, thoughts, physical sensations, when I noticed an email in my Equinox email inbox about a manager needing to speak with me imminently regarding my 12pm Wednesday class at 76th/Amsterdam.
Apparently, after 8 years of teaching the class to a very dedicated group of wonderful students, the new manager decided that a Power Yoga class would be more “suitable” for my time slot, and poof, my class of 8 years , and my last class with Equinox was gone. I was assured that I would be offered “subbing priority” and it was explained to me that I hadn’t been given much notice so that the members of the club wouldn’t have time to “organize and complain”. I was instantly flooded with attachment, anger, and sadness as I knew that I hadn’t been given sufficient time to properly alert most of my students to the imminent change nor have a chance to say goodbye. What a way to reenter normal life after a meditation retreat, with a hard slap from corporate impermanence itself!
Life is fascinating isn’t it? We think we have a solid sense of how things are going or expectations about what will happen next and then POW…majorly unexpected things arise like losing our beloved yoga class, suffering a major health scare, losing a loved one, and who knows what else…
This is an ultimate conundrum of life: How can we be ok with impermanence and unexpected change? How can we be ok with the fact that we will all grow old, get sick, and die? How can we not only be ok with this but be happy in spite of it? I think it’s about recognizing that everything is impermanent and allowing ourselves to enjoy what we love without grasping to it too tightly and to recognize when we are pushing something away that we find unpleasant and to try not to push so hard. Suffering is caused by clinging and aversion.
Happiness isn’t a state of perpetual positivity that we ultimately find and cling to despite the natural ups and downs of life, but rather it’s a state of equanimity, awareness, and wisdom where we learn to experience each moment as it is without having to conform it to suit our preferences. Was I angry and sad that my class got taken away without much notice, Yes? Do I trust that I will be ok with or without my class? Yes. Through my meditation practice I am slowly learning to ride waves of impermanence more smoothly and with more patience and less fear.