Impermanence: The Beauty of Decay, Death, and Transformation.

I know death is a hard topic to discuss. We tend to avoid it out of fear even though we logically know that everything is impermanent. I’m grateful for life and death. There can’t be one without the other. 

You and I will die. The Earth will die. Our Sun will die. Our Solar System will die. The Universe will die.

Well at least in our conventional sense of death….

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.

If energy can neither be created nor destroyed then we are infinite. The matter that makes up our body has been around since the dawn of the Universe and it will live on for infinity after we die. On a cellular level, we are constantly transforming, with old cells dying and new cells being born every second.

The Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and many other Buddhist teachers talk about the laws of Physics in their discussions about death, life, and impermanence. Impermanence is one of the key principles of Buddhism and many Buddhist’s meditate over their own death. Why not prepare for the inevitable? It’s one of the few things we are guaranteed.

Be grateful for death, without it we wouldn’t be alive. Just think of the approximately 108 Billion people who have lived and died on Earth. The Billions of Dinosaurs that had to die for us to eventually evolve into conscious species. A supernova (death of a star) creating the matter for our Sun, Earth, and Solar system to be created. Without the death of our ancestors, we would not be alive and our death will allow other humans to get a chance at life.

Without death, there is no life.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching’s discussed that there is no birth or death, just transformation. You and I are a transformation of our parent’s DNA, and our bodies are a mixture of elements that have been transformed into a conscious human being. We are not full of human but full of elements like oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen.

Many of us walk around as if we live forever. We all logically know our own death but choose to ignore it. We assume that we will get old and deal with it then even though we could die any minute. This is all a delusion that is motivated by fear. If we fully embrace impermanence today we can live our life full of gratitude, love, and freedom. Without the fear of death, we can fully enjoy life. Freedom from the fear of death is a great feeling, one that I try to cultivate in my meditations.

I know this topic is hard to discuss and I thank you for reading this blog post. My intention is not to be sad or dark, but to bring light to the darkness. To change our perspective on death from one of fear to love and from anger to gratitude. 

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

 

Tending Our Own Garden: Focusing our Energy on Self-improvement. 

 

Tending our own garden is to focus our energy on what we can do to make our life better. Over my own life, I have spent countless hours worrying about other people lives. I thought I was helping others but what I was really doing was neglecting my own life. I also realized that people will change in their own time and that meddling in other peoples lives is both a waste of energy and can ruin friendships. I truly believe that people love positive changes but hate being changed by others. We know this intuitively when we see the joy in someones face when they lose weight or learn a new skill. The two most valuable commodities in our lives are time and attention. If we spend our time and attention on meddling in others lives, we lose out on living our own life.

Like I have said before, we must become the beacon of light for others to follow. For example, if we want others to eat a healthy and nutritious diet we have to first evaluate our own diet and see how we can improve it. Let’s focus our energy on fulfilling our potential with the wisdom that others will follow suit in their own time. Forcing others to change is unskillful because it usually alienates people, sometimes pushing them further away from your advice.

Flowers only bloom when they are ready. People are the same way. You cannot rush or force them to open just because you think it’s time. Be patient.”      -Timber Hawkeye

Be patient. Focus on your life. Accept others how they are today and not how they should be according to your standards.

With Aloha,

Jonathan Hoffman