Dec 10


I experienced something really cool last Friday.  My kids’ school had five Tibetan monks on campus for a week, and they spent three of those days creating a Sand Mandala.

On Friday they had a closing ceremony when they swept it away.  The Mandala was an intricate design of brightly colored sand about three feet by three feet.  The monks, dressed in their maroon robes, created it painstakingly grain by grain by grain.

I felt drawn to the whole idea of creating something and then taking it away, so I went to the closing ceremony.  It was a funny and somehow moving scene.  The entire school was crammed into one room to watch.  Everyone stayed quiet and still while thanks were given, chants were chanted.  When one monk started the process of sweeping the Mandala away (it was on a table and the kids were sitting on the floor),  first one, then two, then three of them popped up like gophers from their holes to get a better look.  The teachers tried to wave them back down without talking, but the tide got too strong and all of a sudden all the students were standing around the table to get a better look.

That struck me.  This quiet, calm moment had a group of kids, from 5 to 14-years-old completely enthralled.  It was the ceremony of it, but I also think there was a bit of wonder at the fact that they were taking away this beautiful creation they had spent many hours making.   I couldn’t help but think about all the artwork and small creations that our children make and we parents save.  We take photos to save moments.  We take video to save moments.  We save and we save.  What are we holding onto?  Do we ever teach our children to let go?

I’m not saying that saving and treasuring is bad, but I do think it’s worth thinking about how much we do it and what it is like to accept the idea of impermanence that this ritual represents.  Everything has a beginning, middle and an end.  And that’s okay.

Because of this experience, I’ve been thinking a lot about impermanence and not being attached.  Both to things and thoughts.  I’ve got a few things/thoughts I’m going to try to let go…to sweep away.   What are you holding onto that might be good to let go?