I am known to be an upbeat and optimistic person, to such a point that some friends affectionately nicknamed me ‘Mr. Happy.’ But even in those moments when everything is well and I am cruising through life worry-free, I still feel the presence of melancholy in the background. I keep coming back to that underlying sensation of sadness in my life. And then I ask myself, “Why do I feel this way?”
As I ponder, I come to the conclusion that I feel sad because who and what I love — the people, the things, and the situations — will, eventually and inevitably, be taken away from me, including my own physical existence with all its joyful moments.
It’s not difficult for me to realize that my sadness derives from my cravings and attachments. I can see how my desires for people and things to be a certain way are sources of suffering. When they are not the way I want them to be, I suffer. And when they are, by getting attached to them and not wanting them to change, I set myself up to endure pain because change they will.
I can see how delusional is the idea that I can create a perfect life for myself, a life situation that once attained would remain unchanged, fulfilling my needs and desires for the rest of my life. I can see the suffering I bring upon myself by my futile attempts to create permanence in an universe where everything by nature is impermanent. It’s clear to me that the constant transformation of everyone and everything will never allow me to experience complete and lasting satisfaction in my lifetime. I can accept that an undercurrent of dissatisfaction will always be present, even when things are going well.
I feel that all situations, no matter how good, cannot bring me complete contentment and peace. Even when things are good there is a knowing that things are not going to stay that way. I live with a sense of discomfort, an ever-present feeling that things are not quite right. Unsatisfactoriness is ubiquitous. I understand that everything changes and nothing stays the same, and that the attempts to make permanent what is impermanent always fail and only bring about more suffering,
I get that.
And when I realize that this is a condition that affects everyone, I feel deep sympathy and compassion for all humanity.
I guess that I am attached to life and wish not to die. Therefore, the greatest training to alleviate afflictions and agonies is the training I can undertake to reduce desires and learn to die before I die. My moment-to-moment practice must be one of letting go of attachments to everyone and everything, while, at the same time, loving everyone and everything.
Oh, these paradoxes!
I know that in the physical realm everything is transient: nothing lasts forever. I can see manifestations of birth, growth, decay, and death all around me, all the time. Through observation and reflection I can easily come to an understanding that I don’t own anything permanently, that in a way everything and everyone was lent to me for my temporary enjoyment, my body and my life included.
In order to placate this disturbing sensation of lack and insufficiency, I cultivate a sense of enoughness, saying to myself, “I do enough. I have enough. I am enough. These accumulated lifetime experiences are enough. These relationships are enough. This knowledge is enough. This wisdom is enough. This life is enough.”
So, the training for not falling in states of despair and depression is one of coming back to this present moment, of appreciating this present moment, of giving thanks for this present moment, of feeling content and satisfied, over, and over, and over again, while calmly accepting the impermanence of everything in this inescapable cycle of perennial transformation.
I see it.
I know it.
Now, what’s left, is to do it.
Just do it!
Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect and write, and who not only aspires to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches Mindfulness Meditation and Mindful Living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He leads mindfulness silent retreats and organizes Silent Peace Walks.
Join his Mindfulness Meditation and Mindfulness Living sessions at Yoga Source in Coral Springs, and at Shiwa Yoga in Deerfield Beach, Florida, USA.
Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store
– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”
– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”
– “Silent Peace Walk”