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Easing Anxiety by Remembering Impermanence

Easing Anxiety by Remembering Impermanence. All things change. Including your anxiety. It’s possible that it will change for the better. To remember the grace that impermanence offers, try the following mindfulness exercise:

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Sit quietly in a safe place, with your posture tall, but your shoulders relaxed.
If you feel safe closing your eyes, close them
Otherwise, keep your eyes open, but soften your gaze
Perhaps look down at the ground ahead of you
Maintain neutral posture in your back and neck

Breathe gently and slowly in and out through your nose
Allow your energy to settle by spending some time watching the breath

Let yourself be fully present with each slow, full breath in
And each slow, full breath out

Breathe in….
Breathe out…

And now think back to the earliest months of your life,
When you were only a baby
Go as far back as you’d like to

Recall how different your body was then
How tiny you were,
How fragile you were

Recall too, how little you understood of the world
There was a time when you could just barely recognize colors and shapes
A time when you could not feed yourself
A time when you could not stand or walk
A time when you didn’t know how to read, or write

And then as you grew, and you began to make sense of the world
Recall the things you once believed that are no longer true
Perhaps you believed in fictional cartoon characters,
Or you held a particularly child-like world view
But then it changed
There’s very little of your body and your mind
That’s the same today as it was then
And yet, you are still you

Reflect back on the course of your life
Through later childhood and your early teenage years
Recall the physical changes you have gone through
Recall how much you have learned
And recall the changes to your world view

Easing Anxiety by Remembering Impermanence

So much has changed in your body,
So much has changed in your mind
And yet, you’re still you

And so return to breath awareness now
Notice the continual movement of the breath
This constant flow
This constant exchange
Between breathing in and breathing out

Notice what’s changing right here and right now
And the breath is a good place to start
There’s never one single moment
In which the breath remains the same

And in fact, if the breath were not in flow,
You’d be in trouble

The inhale breath doesn’t arrive toward the end
And lament the oncoming exhale
The exhale breath doesn’t begin to empty
And worry over the incoming breath in

We let the inhale go
We let the exhale finish
We trust that this cycle of change
Will continue,
Giving us life

Contemplate the possibility that as change occurs in your breath,
Change is occurring right now in your body
Change is occurring right now in your mind

And possible that these incoming changes
Will give you life,
Give you peace,
Give you ease

Contemplate the possibility that your world view could shift
It could shift slowly, over time
And it could shift in an instant

Be open to this change
Aware that this change is full of potential

Remain watching the breath
For as long as you’d like
And rest in the awareness
That neither your body nor your mind are static, unchanging, or still

And let that be a very good thing


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