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The Cycles of Life

My friend sighed and rubbed her forehead with her hand, “Man, I just don’t get it.  Yesterday was so awesome, and today sucked soooo much.”
I made a noncommittal noise and replied, “That’s the cycle of life.  Nothing is ever permanent.  Your life can’t be happy all the time.”

That’s when I realized that I have come to accept the concept of life cycles as truth.

It’s an idea that (from what I’ve read) is largely pagan and to a certain extent Buddhist.  If you observe the natural world, everything goes through a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.  This goes to show that the ultimate state of life is not some perfect stasis like heaven, but in fact is impermanence.

I find this whole idea incredibly comforting on two levels.

First, when life is sucking you know it’s not going to suck forever.  Think of it as the inverse of the theory of gravity:  what goes down has got to go back up at some point.  Everybody has experienced happiness at some point in their life.  It will come back around again.

Second, I have the tendency to want to clasp onto whatever I desire when I have finally acquired it so firmly that I manage to choke the life out of it and myself.  For instance, when I’m in a relationship, I’m so panicked about keeping it that I miss enjoying it and wind up losing it.  (For the record, I think I’m improving on this one).  Similarly, when I’m living someplace I enjoy, I never want to move or for it to end.  But everything must come to an end at some point.  We just don’t know when that will happen.  Even relationships that “last forever” end when one of the partners dies.

Accepting the impermanence of everything in life therefore brings about peace of mind.  We aren’t blind-sided when things change.  We were expecting it to happen since that is the true nature of life.  What is really relevant in life is not maintaining some sort of stasis that we think will make us happy.  Instead it is seeking in every situation to learn what the Universe is trying to teach us.

After all, in actuality, life is simply an ever-changing classroom.

  1. March 23, 2009 at 9:43 am

    intelligent perception.

  2. March 24, 2009 at 8:03 am

    mydomainpvt–Thank you!

  3. March 26, 2009 at 12:03 am


    You know, this same sort of realization is what led me to discard the notion of a separate heaven and hell. Starting with hell, I used to wonder how a person could go on suffering for eternity. Surely they would go numb from the pain eventually, right? And on the flipside, eternal happiness (as you suggested) seems every bit as unlikely. Happiness is fleeting; general contentment is what I aim for now days.

    I have a galpal (perhaps similar to your own) who just can’t comprehend why life must include suffering and has come to blame her Christian god as a result. This saddens me and her mother to see her jump to such an extreme conclusion due to an inability to accept the ups and downs of life. But she’s young, so perhaps in a couple of years she’ll see it differently and learn to cope. And coping skills don’t appear to be something you can teach to others but that they have to discover on their own, frustrating as that can be at times (sure was for me).

    Perception is everything, so it seems, though I can’t bring myself to subscribe to the typical optimist mantras. hehe

  4. March 27, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Wakemenow–Even though I know inside of me that the cycles of life are true and good times don’t last forever…..I still sometimes get incredibly pissed/upset when that occurs. It sort of depends on what caused my happiness and why it’s changing. Life just is never easy.

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