In the long running British science fiction Television series, Doctor Who: the lead character: the Doctor doesn’t die: he regenerates. He’s a time lord from the planet Gallifrey who, when he becomes hold or mortally wounded, undergoes a transformation into a new physical form with a different personality.
The funny thing is, that we all experience regeneration, throughout the impermanence of our lives.
Who you were in the past has only a tenuous connection to who you are today, and who you’ll become in the future. It is the memory of who we have been that helps to define who we will become.
I know that I would not be who I am today, for better or worse, were it not for the experiences of my past…but of course there are some moments of our lives that we wish we hadn’t experienced…events, periods, even years of which I would gladly remove from my memory, if I could.
The Spanish Philosopher George Santayana once wrote that: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”, and of course he’s right. It stands to reason that although we cannot change the past, we alter the future. That’s where we’re going, everyone of us…and that we we have to use what we experienced to make the world a better place.
I believe that the exercise we should focus on, in addition to running: is to acknowledge and embrace impermanence every day.
I’ve spoken about impermanence before…this “Goodness of reality” as the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron calls it. Impermanence is the ever changing world, and lives that we live in.
Who you were in the past has very little to do with who you are today, because the events that you experienced has changed you. Science may have found a way to pluck out the bad memories, and accidents, illness, diseases of the brain or age may accomplish the same effect…but we need to remember and consider that all of our life experiences have brought us to where we are today, and even if you don’t like who you are, even if you feel trapped within your own being: that’s gonna change too. I hope, for all of us: that change is an improvement from who we’ve been.
In her book “When Things Fall Apart” Pema Chodron writes:
“People have no respect for impermanence. We take no delight in it; in fact, we despair of it. We regard it as pain. We try to resist it by making things that will last—forever, we say—things that we don’t have to wash, things that we don’t have to iron. Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things. Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality. Many cultures celebrate this connectedness. There are ceremonies marking all the transitions of life from birth to death, as well as meetings and partings, going into battle, losing the battle, and winning the battle.”
So take the time to celebrate this new year of 2014. Celebrated your impermanence and how who you are today can only improve…like a fine Bordeaux, over time. Last year, and all of the years of your life are over. The New Year really is the beginning of your new life. Respect impermanence and all the changes you will experience.
Our regeneration begins now, and once the process starts it cannot be reversed.
“It all just disappears, doesn’t it? Everything you are: GONE in a moment like breath on a mirror.
Any moment now, he’s a coming…but times change and so must I…
We all change.
When you think about it, we're all different people all through our lives…and that's okay, that's good, you got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.“
Happy New Year.
I’m Steve Runner, reminding you to run long and taper.