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This glass is already broken




In his book of “The trauma of everyday life”, Mark Epstein tells a story of meeting with Ajahn Chah, a beloved buddhist monk. Ajahn Chah points a glass and tells him;

“Do you see this glass? I love this glass. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say “of course!” But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.”

Why we cling to a notion of permanence, even though we know that there is nothing to hold on to. Why do we frantically want the “good times” last forever? Why do we get lost in scenarios of what should/could/would have been? Why do we immerse ourselves in nostalgia, reminisce about the good old times rather than focusing on creating new ones? Why do we torture ourselves by repeating the same old story that we won’t ever find someone else after breakups? Why do we always ask this why questions? I wish I had an answer.

Jack Kornfield, Buddhist writer and teacher, said

“Like a sandcastle, all is temporary, build it, tend it, enjoy it. And when the time comes, let it go.”

Whenever a relationship ends, or a time with a friend which I wanted to last inevitably comes to an end, I always picture myself as a small kid upset that his sandcastle was destroyed by waves. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand the beauty of building a new sandcastle, but I do now, if I remind myself.


What is one thing in your life that you need to be reminded of its impermanence?

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