Over the past year or so, I’ve (very) slowly been learning more about Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation. I have only uncovered about an inch of the tip of the iceberg, but already the ideas have been both helpful and challenging for me. Since I’ve been travelling Southeast Asia, I’ve gotten even more exposure in the form of beautiful temples and the sights of orange-robed monks walking around almost everywhere I go. When I was in the gorgeous little town of Luang Prabang, I stumbled upon a small exhibit on meditation at one of the temples peppered throughout the streets. It was a series of large black-and-white photographs taken by a photographer in collaboration with monks of the area, each shot carefully chosen to represent their meditation practice and religious customs.
There was a small table off to one side selling prints of the photos and books of photography by the same photographer, including one called Meditation Colors. This line, “Nothing whatsoever should be clung to,” caught my eye as I flipped through the book. From what I’ve read, the idea is central in Buddhist teachings, but I thought this was such a beautiful way to put it. Of course we’ve all heard a million times that the only thing constant is change, but it is one thing to know that intellectually and a whole different ball game to be mindful of it, remember it in your every day life, and put it into practice. It is a constant struggle for me to not be attached to things, let everything have its moment, and not try to force anything beautiful to stay longer than it’s meant to.
Arianna Huffington has a beautiful metaphor in her book Thrive where she describes life as a series of scenes as seen through a moving train window. It’s fruitless and ultimately painful to try to cling to any one scene or push another away, because they will all rush past before you know it. She writes that it’s better to fully appreciate and enjoy the lovely things and watch carefully as they pass you on the train, and stay present with the hard things, knowing that they too will pass.
This quote is a perfect little reminder of all these ideas and the deep wisdom behind them.
I hope you are having a wonderful week so far!