Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mono no aware

Wikipedia states:

Mono no aware (もののあはれ?), literally "the pathos of things," and also translated as "an empathy toward things," or "a sensitivity to ephemera," is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence (無常 mujō?), or transience of things, and a gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing.

Throughout my life I have always sought out environments where I could be near to the rushing sounds of water. Be it the beach, a mountain stream, or even a bath, the familiar yet nonrecapitulating sounds have been both captivating and soothing. The very idea that something can be so constant yet so unpredictable is both amazing and beautiful. It is no wonder so many people love this sound and become transfixed by it so easily.

However, unlike the predictability of the sound of waves on the shore, our futures can diverge onto a number of very different paths. Still, every moment we are alive is a unique immutable fragment of our lives. We can enjoy them, regret them, even long for them, but no matter how hard we try we cannot relive them. Keep this in mind because the laws of nature demand that our lives are finite. Every relationship we forge, every task we undertake will have to be set aside once our time comes to leave this world. The people we love enter our lives and either we leave them, or they will leave us. No two things are tied in such a lockstep pattern that they will endure together forever.

Naturally reflecting on this can lead to sadness; however, when we become aware of the briefness of all things, in particular the things we cherish and enjoy, we can learn to appreciate each moment for what it is. I suppose this is why I feel the phrase "mono no aware" can be best exemplified using the unique yet familiar sound of something as simple as the crashing of a wave upon the beach. The moment we hear a wave, we trade a moment in time for an experience and possibly a memory of something beautiful and unique. If we enjoy and cherish this moment because of its uniqueness, when it happens, we can learn to look forward to nature’s interpretation of what will come next. Just image now much richer our experiences will be if we could all simply live not even for today, but for right now.

To that end we should be mindful of the transient nature of all things, not just our lives. Again, nothing lasts forever and nothing endures. Take the time to smell the roses and enjoy the sunset because that moment will never repeat. The flower will die, the day will end. We can plant a flower in the same place and wake up tomorrow morning but these things are not the same as what came before them. They may be better, they may be worse, or they might just be. The point is they are unique unto themselves and we should strive to see them for what they are.

3 comments:

Sophie said...

Beautifully expressed, and on a minor level reminds me of how much I miss the sea.

Travesti said...

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Katherine said...

Thank you