Published in 2006 in a newspaper column also a book: “Easier Than You Think” by Richard Carlson

Question #1)  I’ve been thinking about “impermanence,” the idea that nothing lasts forever.  Quite frankly, it’s a little scary.  Can you offer some advice on how to look at this in a more positive way?

Richard’s answer: Actually, there are two very positive aspects of the law of impermanence and, when reflected upon, they make our lives richer, more fulfilling, and even easier.  The first is that it reminds us, as you say, that nothing lasts forever.”  And while this can be interpreted as negative and sad, it’s actually good news! In other words, when something is going wrong in your life, or when you are experiencing pain, it will always, 100% of the time, pass away.  Knowing this is extremely comforting.  Since there are no exceptions to this rule, there is no need to live in a state of panic or fear. Instead you can learn to relax a little which makes your life a whole lot easier.

The second important aspect of impermanence to remember is that, without it, it would be much more difficult to remember to be consistently grateful for the gifts in our lives.  Think about how different life would be if nothing ever changed?  What if your children never grew up and moved away?  What would motivate you to cherish every moment?  What if you, yourself, never aged?  Wouldn’t it be harder to be grateful for the gifts of youth, vitality and vibrant health?  If you think about change in a slightly different way, you’ll see that it’s there, not to frighten you, but to make your life even more special than it already is.  So embrace change as it arises.  Your life will be easier and more nourishing than ever before.

Richard Carlson