“Don’t let the true nature of anything elude you. Before long, all existing things will be transformed, to rise like smoke (assuming all things become one), or be dispersed in fragments…when jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better grasp of the harmony if you keep going back to it”
– Marcus Aurelius
The above meditation reminds us of a central truth about life: impermanence. “Nothing endures but change”, wrote Heraclitus. We can see the truth of this by contemplating change within our own lives. You can explore this idea by following your timeline from birth until the present in the space of 10-15 seconds. What impressions and experiences does this bring up in you?
The dynamic nature of life makes things both uncertain and unpredictable. Anxiety and possibility are born in this reality. The truth of the transformation of all things means that even good things are tinged with loss. But equally, it offers consolation and solace in times of suffering as we know that ‘This too shall pass’.
How do you relate to change and impermanence?
How can you learn to go with the flow of life so you can celebrate and embrace change?
How can the knowledge that all things arise and pass away help you to live more fully and appreciate more deeply what is here right now?
How might the fleeting nature of all things help offer perspective on your life?
When we are thrown off kilter by change and the difficulty it brings, Marcus encourages us to ‘revert at once to yourself’. How can you come back to yourself and reconnect with your inner strengths and resources when you lose your resilience?