This Gentle Sadness: Mono No Aware

” It is not a sadness you manufacture, not something you own or create. It is something you find one day when you listen. And after that, it is always there. It does not mean I am unhappy, no. Just that the world I see goes far beyond the world I live in now. The world I know is a hundred thousand layers deep and counting—always.”

mononoaware

There is a gentle sadness about Life. Something about growing and getting old. Because when you grow, you also outgrow and when you live, you also outlive. This gentle sadness courses through all that we touch and are, through all the known and unknown universe. It is a truth we cannot fight. Just like we cannot deny that the sun will rise and set or that the rain will fall. We are witnesses, actors in a play that we ultimately do not decide the end of.

And yet, this affliction, this soft greyness is not too common, I find. Even so, it is a way of viewing the world. A way to find beauty in the dusty city. It settles like a blanket over me, this feeling. During sunsets and in nature, as the midnight fireworks go off, as I stare away into the sky, as the end of our adventures draws near and the quiet reigns.

Often, I am quiet because I think that all this beauty dies one day. I am quiet because I am sad for the world. The one I live in, the one in 10 minutes from now, even the one from eight hundred or eight thousand years ago. It is not a sadness you manufacture, not something you own or create. It is something you find one day when you listen to the world’s stories. And after that, it is always there. It does not mean I am unhappy, no. Just that the world I see goes far beyond the world I live in now. The world I know is a hundred thousand layers deep and counting—always.

Sadness is the state of life and the world. It is a reality you learn to accept as you accept that the planets rotate around the sun and that gravity exists. There is sadness that lasts, and there is nothing to do with it, save for acknowledging it.


Listening to:

The Oldest Happiness

“In these last moments, it will always be the quiet, innocuous days that stand out most. Nameless and blurry, anonymous as they may be, I revisit them with a warm, gooey feeling even now. “

AnnaPan
Art by: Anna Pan

When I die—or at least right before—I don’t think I will think about all the crazy, wild things I will have done. In these last moments, it will always be the quiet, innocuous days that stand out most. Nameless and blurry, anonymous as they may be, I revisit them with a warm, gooey feeling even now.

Late breakfasts eaten on the terrace
The warm glow of the sun on round cheeks
Easy chatter and even easier laughter
Midnight conversations spoken in hushed tones
The spaces between printed words where you get lost in a novel
Finding out a surprising thing about a sibling
Watching kites in the sky

Or quiet, otherworldly afternoons-turned-evenings, dipping wooden spoons into mounds of delicious, melting ice-cream. Staring ahead, above the clouds, wandering past the limits of the Earth, travelling to moons and planets far beyond. Then being startled back into the here and now by very fluffy cats. Then wondering what life as a cat is like.

It’s all such idle contentment, such effortless happiness. It’s the oldest happiness I know.

 

Complex.

d9d1b189c10cd79ee1737b72283afd46
CTO: As Per Illustration

Humans exist with such complexity.

We always see more, feel more, think more than there is. We attach concepts to ideas, weave symbolism into art and inject meaning into everything we do. Our minds are elaborate castles with hidden traps, dungeons and secret passageways. Our thoughts are labyrinths, our dreams oceans of unexplored depths.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, as if our minds were not already uncharted territories, we find ways to link them to others’. We connect our worlds with theirs. And so, if our minds are worlds, then our relationships are galaxies that contain all of us, from the deserts of depression to the mountains of glory, through the fields of love and the black holes of mourning.

We are charged with meaning, alimented by purpose.

It is phenomenal that we can create all this from bodies that are essentially clay, that we can build worlds with something as mortal and fragile as the human body.
It is awe-inspiring that our ideas can transcend Death, that our existences are not limited to our lifespans.

But even so, it is both a blessing and a curse to exist so complexly.

Because you can see the beauty of a flower, but in the same breath, you also realise that it will soon wilt. You cannot be truly happy because the voice nags. There are whispers of ends that reach your ears, ideas of loss that poison your bliss.

No wonder so many intelligent people are sad; they see untold outcomes. And not many of them end well.

You have castles of thoughts that await, but inner peace evades you.
What is the point of owning such a big estate, such expansive worlds, when you do not even have one broom closet where there is quiet?

The mind is loud, noisy.
It bustles, it always works.
It overheats but it never stops.
It overthinks but it never stops.

So sometimes, I wonder.

I escape the mind by going further into it, by seeking its hidden cracks.

Sometimes, I want to be something simple. Like a cloud. Float gently around the world and distribute rain, sometimes thunder? I can do that. There would be no need to have inner peace then, because I would just be.

Cogito Ergo Sum? More like Cogito Ergo Sum.

The mind is too loud,
the thoughts require too much.
I just want to close my eyes and be.
I just want to close my eyes and breathe,
feel my heart beat and look at a flower
and only think that
it is indeed very beautiful.