zen habits : breathe

The Painful Beauty of Impermanence

By Leo Babauta

The cherry blossom falls after its short beautiful bloom.

It floats gently down to earth. Its life is over, but the limitedness of its existence is one of the biggest reasons the blossom is so gorgeous. If we knew that the blossom would last forever, it wouldn’t have the same poignant beauty, and we’d take it for granted.

The blossom’s impermanence, its fleetingness, its transience — this is why we appreciate it.

Our lives are similarly short. We have but a moment on this rock, but we forget that impermanence and take our days for granted. We fritter away those days with the wasted activities of TV, social media, computer games.

If we remember the impermanence of life, perhaps we could appreciate its gentle passing with as much appreciation as a cherry blossom.

Impermanence and Suffering

Our struggle with impermanence causes much, if not all, of our suffering. We don’t want things to change, we want things to be the way we want them. And when they aren’t, we are stressed out, frustrated, disappointed, grieving, mourning, wishing things were different.

But what if we could accept this impermanence, accept the reality of this moment, embrace it as we do the cherry blossom?

We might be a bit more at peace with reality:

In each of these situations, the impermanent, ever-changing nature of life can cause stress, frustration, sadness and anger. But when we embrace the impermanence and work with it, life can be a joy, and we can appreciate the painful beauty of this temporary existence.

As we watch the blossom falling, we see ourselves in it, and we feel the gravity of the moment.



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