The Importance of Impermanence

Recently (last few months) there has been a dramatic shift in the way I think and relate myself to the world around me. For a long time much anxiety was caused from the idea that I would be stuck or trapped in or by something. For example stuck in a job that would never end, doing a task that seems never ending, never catching up to goals or pay off debt. The root of all this is the belief that whatever is going on in my life is permanent and never ending. The idea of something never ending is one of my worst nightmares, my idea of hell is exactly like that of Greek Mythology where mortals were punished to never ending tasks. Prime example, Sisyphus was forced to push a large boulder up a hill only to see it roll back down. That is hell for me and whenever something would arise in my life that felt never ending it caused a lot of anxiety.

However something has changed, my way of thinking is shifting away from this idea that everything is permanent. Thankfully to my studies in philosophy and comparative religion I understand that nothing in reality is permanent, everything around us is in a constant state of flux, change, birth, growth and death. Life is a cycle, everything cycles through and will change.

“This too shall pass” is a saying that sums this all up. People often ask me why I am so chipper, smile and try to be in a good mood most of the time. I tell them; first I am a live so why should I be sad? Second, I say that whatever is worrying me now at this moment won’t matter in five minutes or five days. My troubles are temporary. Because everything changes nothing will be the same. I might not like a job I have; I try not to worry because I won’t always be there, and I can find another job, transfer or quit it all if I wanted.

This idea of Impermanence is one of the three conditions of existence in Buddhism, all things in reality change. The Greek Philosophers also believed that our world is in a state of flux, but they viewed it more as a corruption in the world and thus we can’t trust our senses of the physical world. Leave it to the Greeks to be so dam negative.

In my personal life, because of the shift in thinking my work day goes faster, instead of dreading the minutes I am where I am I just think that 5pm will eventually come, work is temporary. For a long time I wanted to lose weight and now I have lost close to twenty five pounds. I can’t give all my credit to this change in thinking but it played a role, in that I knew that my body changes, it is not permanent.

In the Tarot impermanence is closely linked to The Wheel of Fortune, for the wheel is always turning, always changing always in flux. Nothing is set in stone, noting stays one way with the wheel. You may be on top but you will fall, you may be at the bottom but you will rise, eventually.  The Wheel of Fortune promises one thing, that things change according to the laws of nature. Cycles are how the wheel works by, like the seasons that change, night to day and day to night.

Secondly, Death can also be linked to impermanence in the idea that all things come to an end, with Death as with the wheel nothing is forever, never ending. Death promises that all things end. Everything is impermanent. Everything will eventually meet an end.

So next time you feel burdened or sick with worry just remember that it will not last, nothing is forever, it will change, in five days it might be even matter anymore, this too shall pass.






The recipient of Tarosophist of the Year 2011, Angelo Nasios is a rising voice in the tarot community. Angelo is known for his popular YouTube channel in which he produces educational tarot videos. Tarot: Unlocking the Arcana, Angelo’s first book will be released by Schiffer Publishing.

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