Today the Daily Calm guided meditation by Tamara Levitt on my iPhone app was about mandalas. I've transcribed the last portion of what Levitt said, because I found it inspiring.
It's so true. Nothing lasts. Everything is impermanent. Our wanting to make the impermanent permanent isn't the only source of suffering, but it certainly contributes to our dissatisfaction with life.
The image below came from a web page about sand mandalas. It describes the process used to create them in the Buddhist tradition. Here's the transcript:
Today we’ll be discussing the transient nature of all things.
In Buddhism there is a tradition of making beautiful mandalas out of vibrantly colored sand. A mandala is a geometric work of art created on a large flat surface and composed of thousands of tiny deposits of colored sand arranged in a stunningly intricate pattern of concentric lines, curls, and shapes.
A mandala is meant to symbolize the complexity of the universe. And its creation is a meditation in itself.
Traditionally sand mandalas are carefully created by a group of monks often working over a span of many hours, typically taking days to complete. There’s a remarkable attention to detail and striking beauty. Yet as soon as the artists complete the mandala, they destroy it.
The stunning composition of brightly colored sand is ceremoniously brushed away and taken to a river to be carried off by the water. You might ask, why would the makers of a mandala exert such extraordinary effort into it, only to willfully destroy it.
Well, it is to remind themselves of the lesson of impermanence, that nothing lasts.
This lesson is contrary to human nature. Our instinct is to resist change. We try to keep our kids from growing up too fast. We fight a natural aging process. And we hold on to romantic relationships long after we’ve realized it’s best for us to move on.
But impermanence is an unavoidable law of nature.
And the more we resist change, the more difficult we make our lives. As Thich Nhat Hanh stated, it is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.
So keep the sand ceremony mandala in mind as a reminder to embrace the transient nature of life.
Do your best not to cling to the things you want to last. Rather, experience them as fully as you can, as they happen, and gracefully let them go as they naturally come to an end.