Monday, July 27, 2009

Anti-Impermanence Injections

If you want to see just how far some of us go to avoid the inevitability of impermanence, just look at a person's face. I see lots of people with foreheads that eerily lack any sign of aging, and eyebrows forever frozen in place from regular botox injections. More than a few TV and movie actors purposely limit their ability to emote and express naturally by paying dermatologists to pump them up with artificial fillers and botulism toxins that paralyze their muscles just so they can have smoother skin. More often then not the end result is imbalanced—it's like buying a brand new couch and sticking it in your living room amidst all your shabby old furniture—the newness of the couch makes everything around it look all the more tattered and worn out.

We all know we can't live forever and that change is inevitable yet we desperately try to keep things just as they are. We think we can halt or turn back the clock with the latest face cream or dietary supplement or risky plastic surgery. We spend hours of our time and thousands of dollars at the gym to fight any sign of aging. We try to keep people in the roles we're comfortable with, limiting their growth and our own in the process. We repeat old patterns of behavior that cause us suffering rather than trying a new way of relating to ourselves and the world that might give us some peace of mind and inspire happiness in the people we come in contact with.

I'm not entirely sure why I do some of these things (fortunately I can't stomach the idea of injecting my face with anything) or what exactly I'm trying to stave off other than the eventual ceasing of my existence in this particular form.

As I turn another year older today I'm aware of these tendencies of mine, of this inborn desire we all have to fix and improve and put off what we label as undesirable but in reality is completely unstoppable and natural.


zensquared said...

Thank you -- I just had one of those key birthdays, the kind that really make one reflect on the rest of one's life. The only thing that's certain is change, and for human bodies, that change proceeds in one direction only! Yet I find myself meeting Zen practitioners who are over 60 who look really good, both fit and peaceful. Sure, there are wrinkles on their faces -- but they are smiling.

Eric said...

Interesting post. I tuned 50 last year and had a wild first class trip back to NYC. This year I was treated to a gym bag -- hint hint. So I joined a gym, hired a trainer and really got into it.

Generally being a skinny kid. Now at 51 I'm getting hung up on my body image and want to get toned and big. Do I think it’ll make me look younger? No, but I think it’ll make me look more attractive. The gray doesn't bother me nor do the lines. Maybe I rationalize this obsession in that it will help my health and well being. Maybe in this case vanity and beauty are more than skin deep.