Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment. –Dalai Lama
It took nine days for two monks to create a sand mandala, in honor of His Holiness XIV Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. My friend Karin and I were fortunate enough to watch those artisans at work, and to share tea and conversation with them a few weeks back.*
Earlier this week, the Center for Living Peace provided a short video clip of the private dissolution ceremony.
In witnessing these ancient Tibetan Buddhist traditions, I am reminded of the simple joys available to us in each moment. Beauty. Unity. The healing balm of sacred rituals. Too, in watching the attentiveness with which the monks go about their tasks–the physical endurance and mental discipline required to create and then dismantle the sand mandala–I see illustrated the concepts of detachment and impermanence.
The metaphor is deep and wide, with a special resonance for each of us. I’m appreciating it anew this morning, as a memoirist whose book is currently out on submission to publishers.
When we contribute our stories to the collective, we spare them from the dustbin of history, albeit temporarily. Pages crumble; interests wax and wane. So we aim for the transcendent, more so than permanence. We stay in the room with story, despite any temporary discomfort. In writing about past events, we remain fully present. And we try to remember that who we are– in this moment; in light of our experiences, and despite them–is the heartbeat of our memoir.
*Oh my goodness, I’m remembering now that I teased a second blog entry about that! I’ll post it next week, I promise!