October 12, 2011

Looking at impermanence is to look at our own mortality. ~ Sebastian Pucelle

Permanent Impermanence

By Sebastian Pucelle


Is there something more obvious than the constant change of all of life’s phenomas?


No need to look far in order to grasp the concept of impermanence, from the cycle of the seasons or even the natural growth of our own body. It becomes quite clear that nothing lasts: Neither the sunny days nor the comfort of youth. The day rises, shines and diminishes. As soon as we are born to this life we are in a process of decay, each rising moment passes away at the same time. The seed of impermanence is entangled straight away from our very birth.

Looking at impermanence is to look at our own mortality.

We are keen to forget and behave like we own the future instead of celebrating the present.

It is intimidating to face this ultimate truth and to align with it. We might be reluctant to remember our mortality and strongly persist in an attempt to hold our right to life. If only we can invite an attitude of acceptance and cultivate a bit more surrender, our daily life will blossom with more stability, helping the making of a peaceful mind.

It is said that here are two levels of impermanence:

1: Gross – Change of matter happening over long periods of time.

2: Subtle – Inner changes of mind and invisible changes of matter happening in the shortest part of a second, the rising and passing from moment to moment.

Our mind cannot perceive subtle changes of matter happening at the particle level; it can only see the gross changes from day to day, hour to hour. From the obvious to the more refined nothing escapes the law of impermanence.

If we can remember impermanence and death, we have the understanding to prevent the arising of negative states of mind such as greed, ignorance, hatred, pride, jealousy and so forth. These states are causes of discomfort, suffering and confusion.

An understanding of the shortness of human life unfolds with discernment, appreciation and insight towards it, which somehow eases those unwholesome states of mind.

It is most important to acquaint oneself with this self-evident principle and by doing so we are blessed with a sense of deep freedom, a sense of timelessness. By embracing impermanence we touch the very core of our existence. Some people are so fearful of death that they are afraid to live, yet there is a beautiful truth to apprehend by accepting this process of constant change.

This remembrance is greatly useful at the time of death. Contemplation on a daily basis transforms death into an ally and offers a substantial tool to ease the mind from fear of letting go, embracing this final stage with peace at heart.

“Life is the companion of death; death is the beginning of life. Who understands their workings? Man’s life is a coming together of breath. If it comes together, there is life; if it scatters there is death. And if life and death are companions to each other, then what is there for us to be anxious about?”

 ~Daoist philosophy

 Meditation, of course, is one of the most reliable practices to embrace in order to cultivate a healthy bond with impermanence. However, the practice of Yin-Yoga is also of tremendous help.

The Yin energy ultimately is energy of surrender, acceptance and letting-go…

It is with this mind-set and heart quality that the Yin-Yogi approaches the mat, accepting everything, holding on to nothing as we maintain the asana (yoga pose) for a longer time: three to five minutes.

We often come across discomfort, but Yin-Yoga prepares us to stay with intense or unwanted sensations that arise, learning to cultivate an equanimous response towards the present moment.

Whenever we start to feel stress or tension building in our system, we should try to divert our attention to the breath awareness and the heart center. This promotes cultivation of relaxation and surrender, combining meditation and asanas.

 “Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of the world, but accepting that they pass away.”

 ~ Aiten Roshi, modern Zen teacher

For Pantanjali, Ishavara Pranidhana (surrender) is a potent method for dissolving the endless agitations of the mind; it is also the step where attentiveness describes the practice. Surrender clears the way and allows us to harmonize with what “is” rather than using our energy to compete against what is inevitable. The path to transformation includes, at least, the possibility of a different approach or attitude. As we let go of our wilful need to retract from discomfort, we learn to poise the moment, allowing transformation to take place.


Sebastian Pucelle

With extensive training in a broad spectrum of yogic disciplines, Sebastian Pucelle’s teaching blends both Yin & Yang sequences with guided breath-work and meditation. Sebastian’s sessions range from intense and vigorous to relaxing and deeply meditative. He also offers Yin-Yoga and Meditation retreat and soon workshop on the Meridian’s series.

Sebastian’s teaching is enhanced by 8 years of experience as a Qualified Shiatsu Practitioner, and 10 years as a Martial art Instructor holding a black Belt 2nd Dan in Taido. He’s also influenced by the study of Buddhism, especially the Practice of Vipassana and Jhanas Meditation.

Sebastian offers workshops throughout Indonesia and abroad to familiarize people with the practice and teaching of Yin Yoga.  He invites to you the Fan of Yin group on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/fanofyin. Sebastian’s website is http://www.back2yoga.org/







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