ImageIf there is anything adoptee’s know about, it’s impermanence.

The thing is….we hang on.

 We hang on to the hope of a family, of love, of being wanted, of being good enough to “keep”.

One of the first and most important lessons in life and Buddhism is about impermanence.  Having insight into this reality is important if you want to save yourself some suffering.  The practice leads us towards being equanimous or neutral when confronted with change or chaos.  We always work towards wisdom in the way we respond, to what comes and goes.  Not that I’m saying this is easy.  It isn’t by any means, and that is what causes us pain.

It’s the clinging to the hope that things would be,could be different,  that a person won’t die, or words not be said.  It’s the hanging on to the child going on to university, the negative thoughts we have been programmed with, the fears, and beliefs so deeply ingrained.

It’s not the impermanence that causes us pain, its the clinging to things that brings on the suffering we so often speak of.

Once you stop clinging…impermanence no longer brings  pain.   

If you are following me … then the task is to end clinging,  not to try to escape impermanence.

Everything changes in this world, in this moment.  Our cells, our thoughts, our desires, our emotions always changing.  If we can see that concept, we can then become at ease with life and the changes that occur within and around us.

To look inside and discover what it is, and why it is, we so desperately hang on to things, brings insight and understanding and then perhaps the ability to let go, even just a little.

In everyday life we are confronted with “impermanence”.

 A friends family member dies.  The old man I sit with on the seawall is fading before my eyes, eyes hollow with a wanting of death.  I see the seasons change.  Society changes.  My emotions change.  My constant source of unconditional love, my little blind dog Jango is ill, quite possibly cancer. Impermanence

 These past few years have brought many changes to my life.  I’ve lost several loved ones.  I found my BirthMother only to lose her before I knew her.  I found a family only to know I lost five decades of history with them, leaving me lost and on the outside looking in.  I lost the life that I thought I was going to have, to a rare mast cell disease.


Adoptee’s know impermanence from the first splitting of the egg.  We are programmed before birth to believe there is no self worth, there is no real existence,  that no one will love us and stay in our lives, after all… even your mother didn’t want you. Impermanence..

  Perhaps that is why we cling to hope for so long.  Everything in our lives has been impermanent.  

Our lives, our history, our health was taken away from us.  We were the “unknowns’.


.  So we fight for the rights that everyone else already has, craving the permanence most people take for granted.

The older you get the more you recognize  reality, that yes, our lives are getting shorter, time is more precious. Priorities and values come with increasing importance as we open to this ordinary level of impermanence.  In a deep and profound way this can bring us tremendous wisdom but it doesn’t erase the “adoptee impermanence”.  

This is where it gets deeper and more complicated simply because one of the most ingrained attachments of most people, is to self, self image and self identity.  In the deeper experience of mindfulness we know that the idea of self is a form of clinging to concepts.  There really is no “self” to hold on to and yet we spend millions erasing aging and discussing ways to mask the old and bring the young back.  An adoptee has no true sense of self and identity until reunion and reintegration of the chameleon box of identities we have lived with.  We think we do but its the roles we have been assigned to play that you see.

The more work we do at understanding ourselves and seeing impermanence clearly,  we see that there is really nothing real we can cling to.  Our deep seated tendency to grasp is challenged and so finally we can relax.

 First we need our identity.  Then, we can let go.Image

It’s liberating when you can see the world and your life as flowing, like a river, ever changing and yet, the same.

“If you let go a little, you’ll have a little peace.  If you let go a lot, you’ll have a lot of peace.  If you let go completely, you’ll have complete peace.”  Ajahn Chah

This release is sometimes called Mahasukha, the Great Happiness, which is said to be the only happiness that is ultimately reliable.

Oh, and the eagle feathers…Impermanence…

I collect them, or rather…they come to me from my spirit guides.  A sign that I’m not really alone and that the path I’m on is the right one.


5 thoughts on “Impermanence

  1. Pingback: Impermanence « Middle Pane

  2. The tears are rolling down my cheeks. Again, you, your insights, your writing, your pain, your wisdom just blow me away!

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