Another way of looking at our perspective on time, and how short life is, is to think about what are the things that we see as permanent, and what are the things that we see as temporary? And sometimes it seems like I just automatically think of certain things as being permanent.
This idea that they don’t change over time.
Even if I can know, you know, in my mind that OK, yes, almost everything would change over time.
Everything material that exists in the physical world is clearly something that will change over time, so I know that there’s nothing that is truly permanent.
Even though I can know this in theory, there’s still so many things that it’s easy to just think of as being permanent, just don’t think about the time dimension of them.
It just seems like that is a fixed thing.
Now, of course, things like the weather: the weather would be a perfect example of something that we know is temporary.
So we know the weather is changing, and that’s just completely understood that whenever we see the weather, we understand that this is something that will only be around for a short time, and it will change.
Night and day, the seasons, the weather: perfect example of something being temporary.
But what about the example of a person, a personality, a character, being a certain way? Now, of course we all know that we’re going to grow up and age and change and die, so we all we know that there’s a temporariness there when we think about it that way, and yet, how easy is it, when we’re just thinking about ourselves and our lives, to think “I am a certain way”, “That’s the type of person I am”, and to really see this as a fixed quality? And yet, if we really are temporary, those qualities about ourselves are also temporary.
There’s nothing that is fixed and permanent about having a certain kind of personality.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that our personality will just change all over the place like the weather.
We have certain tendencies, and they’re reinforced over a long time.
A habit of repeated behaviour, repeated circumstances, leads to being a certain way, and so we continue to be a certain way, and there is nothing that’s automatically going to change it out of nowhere.
If things carry on as they have, more or less, than we will carry on as we have, more or less, of course eventually aging and dying, as we are only temporary.
And yet, these qualities, if we change the situation, change what is supporting those qualities, they can also change.
And that seems to be- it can be useful to remember that.
If, for example, seeing yourself as a lazy person, being a lazy person.
Well, what does that mean? You’ve built up a certain habit and a way of normally being based on repeated behaviour that, when there’s difficult things to do, you choose “Meh, I’d rather not do it”, and you don’t.
And so I know what that’s like.
I’ve had a lot of time as being what could be described as a lazy person.
At least looking back, I can say that I was being lazy.
But if I were just to say “I am lazy, and this is me permanently”- even though I know I only exist for a brief time in life, but I could say, you know, “This is my state.
I am lazy, and that is my condition.” If I really believed and saw that as a permanent thing, then it would be easy to simply accept it and just throw my hands up in surrender and say “Well, that’s the way I am.
There’s nothing else I can do.” And how frustrating is that, when somebody just says- you know, somebody’s doing something that’s not ideal, maybe not behaving well, and they can just say “Well, that’s just the way I am.” And that’s frustrating for somebody to say about themselves, and can certainly be a very limiting thing to say about somebody else.
“Oh, that person is that type of person.” […]
If we choose to change the circumstances in our lives, choose to do things differently, then we can change those things that we might have thought were permanent.
So the person who’s lazy, who begins the slow process of starting to become less lazy and working hard, eventually can reach somebody that does not consider themselves to be lazy. […]
So what are the things about yourself that you consider to be a permanent part of your character? And I would ask that question, and then I would ask, well, if you like these qualities, if you like this quality you’ve identified, what are you doing to support it and maintain it to help it to continue to be a permanent part of you, or a part of you as long as you live? And on the other hand, if it’s a quality that you don’t like, that you say “I am this type of person”, you don’t like it, then it’s worth remembering that it isn’t automatically permanent, and that if you change the conditions that you live in, change your way of living, then this thing that seems like a fixed part of your character can become simply part of your past.
#nothingispermanent #everythingistemporary #changeispossible