Three words that could change your life. I know it’s one word repeated thrice(!) but it’s all the more profound when repeated, because you begin to feel it as you say it. Annica, in the tenets of Buddhism implies ‘impermanence’.
It dictates that everything in the world is impermanent. Thinking about this over and over leads you to another important aspect of Buddhism — non-attachment. When you start realizing that everything around you, within you, about you and everyone and everything else in the world is impermanent, you start to not feel that something is an end all to your being.
This is not to say that we must not be emotional about those we love, and not love or live with all out heart. But, it is to realize this truth and move through life with it.
If I am in extreme physical pain, I should know that it will pass. It is great to be happy, but to cling to it with wantonness is foolish as that is not to last either. The thought of a loved one dying breaks you inside, but we must know that there is an end to human life — ours and theirs. We are not the same person that we were 10 years ago, our emotions change, so does our life, sometimes our circumstances and our surroundings too. It is not just physically that we change, because of the science of the cells in our bodies undergoing division many times over.
As with any philosophical thought, there are many views and discussions, and many applications. I would like to think of anicca as hope — to expect tomorrow to be better than today. Today may be great, but why will tomorrow be any less. And if it is, we still know that there is something else up ahead.
I do also like to believe that some parts of me are permanent and will not change — my beliefs, principles and morals that form the core of me. There are definitely aspects that are re-analyzed over and over and re-adjusted but some little pieces will remain the same.
I would still say that although this concept easy to grasp, it is extremely hard to apply in life. Just saying that something is inevitable doesn’t always make it right, but hopefully it can make it a little easier to deal with.
A friend of mine who also lost their parent recently (which is a scale of 2-3 years ago for someone who has lost a parent) were talking and found how the first year was extremely hard to get through. Every day it hurt to get through life and we didn’t know how we would make it. The second year, the pain lessened and we now think about the happy times, the wonderful memories and our lives with them. If people had told me that this is how it would be when I was in that time, I would probably have not believed them. Now, I have no doubt that the way I remember my dad will change as I go through life, but I will always remember him, sometimes less, sometimes more, and in different ways and situations.
The concept of anicca was another invaluable lesson that my dad taught us about. He explained it to us by relating the idea to events and emotions in our day-to-day lives.