The Practice of Impermanence Can Reduce Suffering
If we have too many desires, any unexpected change can bring us pain. If however, you are able to meditate on impermanence, your frustration and depression will certainly be cured.
In Buddhism, there are many different ways to relieve the various kinds of suffering. As you’ve said, one is unlikely to find happiness in the material world and so should seek happiness within. I think the best way to have contentment is to have as few desires as possible. In the past, the older and more devout people found it easy to feel happy as long as their basic life needs were guaranteed and they didn’t go cold or hungry. Many people led this kind of simple and contented life, but these days, most young people in Tibet do not live this way. The Bhutanese people have the highest Gross National Happiness (GNH) index in the world. I think part of the reason is that the majority of Bhutanese are practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism. For most people, both young and old, it is quite common to worry about the loss of one’s beauty or material wealth, this worry then causes lots of suffering. The Buddhist teachings can actually help people relieve this kind of suffering.
I often tell people about the how the Buddhist teachings are integrated into the life of the Tibetan people. Although it’s not common among Tibetan women today, traditional women used to talk about their old age with optimism, describing how they were accepting their lost youth and coming old age with serenity and confidence. I think the key to this attitude is consistent meditation on impermanence. If this practice is done well, it can help one to more easily accept any change that happens either to oneself or to others.
A consistent practice of meditating on impermanence can help one internalize the reality that nothing is permanent, neither the beauty of one’s face or anything else in this world. Then, even if a close friendship should break apart or lovers should separate, one’s mind has the conviction that nothing is permanent, and so the pain that one feels will not be as great, or at the least, their thoughts will not lead them to commit suicide. This is the benefit of meditating on impermanence.