How much do I want to read more? 7/10

Great, it's simple and illustrated with the author's unique point of view (as if we were friends)..,
I love the story of the two waves, it illustrates both our uniqueness and our wholeness. We have to deal with them both, without ignoring one or the other:
“Tall Wave, I can tell you in seven words why this situation that you observe is not a problem.”. The little wave said, “You’re not just a wave. You’re water.”
The three marks of existence according to Buddha: Impermanence, Suffering, Wholeness.


UNTIL WE DIE, we are constantly in a state of change and evolution.

[quote, Benjamin Franklin]
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

what you are going to do with your life. Yet this question continues to haunt us throughout our years

For anyone in transition—and let’s be clear, we are all always in transition—this is a book that will help.

Lodro Rinzler


There seemed to be a hollowness at my core, an incessant ache that I could not figure out how to fix. Was there something wrong with me? Why did I feel so alone all the time? And what was the point of being alive, if everything died in the end?

When I learned about the three marks of existence (impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, no separate self) in a class at the end of my senior year of college, it felt like a piece of the puzzle in my mind clicked into place.

It felt like the Buddha himself with clarity and kindness. “You are suffering,” he was saying, “let me explain why.”
According to early texts, the Buddha said that all of existence as we know it is “marked” by three qualities: impermanence, “unsatisfactoriness,” or the tendency to cling to pleasure and to avoid pain, and “no separate self.” Suffering happens, according to the Buddha, when we resist or deny any of these truths in our life. Let’s take these one by one.


In Buddhism, the first mark of existence is “impermanence,” or the fact that everything changes. Everything. Every plant in nature, every drop in the ocean, every cell in your body is constantly moving, transforming, changing, dying, and being born. Nothing is static, and nothing is permanent.

We humans struggle and pound our fists against a basic, fundamental truth of existence: all life in this world is impermanent. We learn that everything arises and falls in its own time, in its own season—and we really don’t want this to be true. So we resist. We cling with all our hearts to the things we love. We try with all our might to fight loss and change. We, like the mother in the story, want to find a “cure” for death and impermanence.

The trouble is, impermanence will always win, and our resistance to this essential part of existence will always fail. And this resistance hurts. Resistance to suffering causes additional suffering, on top of the pain and disorientation of the change itself. Relationships end. People we love die. Friendships dissolve. We grow older. This is just true. When I acknowledge this and let it deeply penetrate my understanding of things, something within me relaxes. I stop fighting.

“Teacher, why are you acting like this? Didn’t you teach us that all of life is impermanent and that a solid, unchanging idea of human life is an illusion?”
The teacher nodded and said, “Yes. And the loss of a child is the most painful illusion of them all.”


According to the Buddha, the second mark of existence is “unsatisfactoriness,” or suffering itself. Suffering, or dukkha in Pali, describes an axle that doesn’t fit properly into the axle hole of the wheel, so it makes for a bumpy ride. Something isn’t fitting. Something feels off. This is how the Buddha describes the suffering of everyday life. It is a quiet but persistent hum underneath all of our interactions. It is a baseline unsatisfactoriness.
There is nothing we can hold on to—everything is constantly shifting.

We scream, cling, and resist change. We often have to be dragged to the next stage of our lives, only to discover that the next thing is exactly what we needed. It held treasures we did not even know how to think about or to conceptualize.


“Tall Wave, I can tell you in seven words why this situation that you observe is not a problem.”. The little wave said, “You’re not just a wave. You’re water.”

We are not just waves either, although we walk around most days believing we are. We believe we are distinct, separate, self-operating creatures, encased in skin, who may interact with other distinct, separate, self-operating creatures, but who are fundamentally separate from them. On some level, this is true. Looking at the ocean, we do see separate waves. Each wave has its own existence. Each wave has its own life span, and its own unique characteristics that make it different from every wave that has come along before and after it.

“What if I am actually deeply loveable, just as I am? Without having to do or perform anything? What if I am worthy of being here, alive, as myself?” Hypothetically, I imagine: if this were unassailably true, how would I feel? How would I speak to others? How would I walk or spend my time?
Usually, this imagining helps me feel strong and full. I notice I stand up straighter, and I look people in the eye. Slowly, these exercises have given me a taste of what true self-acceptance feels like. They have helped me to reprogram my brain to challenge its default self-hatred and to build alternative narratives through which I am learning to love my wave configuration, exactly as it is. In returning back to myself, just as I am, over and over again in meditation, I practice self-acceptance, the same way a weight lifter at the gym builds her muscles.

The story doesn’t end there, however. We are waves, and it is important we love our particular wave shape, color and characteristics. But at the very same time, we are water. We are composed of materials—carbon, water, cells, oxygen, etc.—that we did not invent and that we do not own.
We only exist in conjunction with billions of forces that are allowing for our continued existence, every second of every day. Our physical bodies are deeply interpenetrated with our environment, taking in oxygen, nutrients, and energy, and releasing waste.

Our minds and hearts are also porous to other people, taking in ideas, traumas, narratives, and information.
all people are water, interdependent and co-arising with all things.

what I thought of as “my life” (separate, distinct, happening on a linear timeline) is only one part of the whole picture of life itself.

When we sit down in meditation, however, I challenge these students to find exactly the place that is them. I ask them to watch their mind, to follow their thoughts, to search and to find the solid, unchanging core of their personhood. “Find the ‘I’ underneath,” I challenge them. Neither they, nor anyone I know, can do this, because it doesn’t exist. What we find instead are clusters of memories, imaginings, conditioned patterns of thoughts, and emotions that are constantly morphing and changing in a close, porous relationship to our world.

In my experience, the three marks of existence are most helpful in daily life when we reframe them as questions: Am I suffering right now because I am resisting or forgetting one of these truths? Am I resisting impermanence and change? Am I clinging hard to an outcome I want, or pushing away something I don’t want? Am I believing that I am separate from life, and love, or clinging to a definition of myself that isn’t true? Most of the time, when I am suffering, the answer is “yes” to one or more of these. Recognizing this, I can relax my resistance a little. I can take a breath. I can practice being with what is.