I know I am sharing so many pictures of cherry blossoms lately, but this is the best season in Japan in many people's opinions, and is such a short, fleeting time.
The sakura can be so much more than simply something beautiful to look at and think 'wow they are so pretty'.
As with much of Asian culture, the short lifespan of the cherry blossoms is symbolic of impermenance, and the fact that EVERYTHING, whether we like it or not, is continually changing.
In Zen it is said that depression is caused when we are dwelling on bad decisions we made in the past, or if we are worrying about the future. The sakura are a perfect, living example of us all to LIVE IN THE MOMENT.
So many people love to quote this phrase, but in truth, so few ever actually do it.
Even within cultures where this notion is conveyed regularly, I still see much clinging to past, willing for a certain future, and stressing over things that cannot be changed.
This is just a part of human nature.
We like to think we will be the same now as in the future.
But if we think - what did we all want to be when we were younger? I know many people in the west wanted to have crazy professions as kids. Soccer players, boxers, dancers, astronauts, even PIRATES! (haha)....
So to say 'I know I will still be like 'X' when I am in 80 years old' is a silly concept, yet we are all guilty of this. I for one am often saying how I will teach Yoga and exercise until I die, and whilst I may have done this for 11 years and have no intention of stopping - who knows what will happen.
I may decide to give up exercise altogether and become a competitive eater!!!
It's a silly example which is exaggerated to exemplify the point. But I hope my meaning is clear.
In short - worry about what we CAN change, not what we CANNOT change.
Do not dwell on decisions you made in the past, or actions that others did to you. You will be full of bitterness and hatred, which will slowly eat up your soul.
Do not worry and stress about the future, for the notion of a future is uncertain. This future you are wasting so much time worrying about may not even come!
So why not live in the PRESENT.
This doesn't mean going out and getting drunk every day, quitting your job and having multiple lovers (unless you want it to!).
Similar to the concept of 'ichigo ichie', I choose to live this as simply appreciating every moment for what it is, instead of being caught up in playing on our phones, or the need to photograph and film every moment. Instead, try to appreciated and experience with all of the senses, to the fullest.
So instead of the western notion of 'live as if you will die tomorrow', which would certainly lead to erratic behaviour, perhaps we could choose to think - live each day as if you will die in '3 years'. You would still need to work, you wouldn't want to get drunk every day and become a slob, but instead you would learn to appreciate and respect all people, let go of hatred and anger towards those who have wronged you, and attempt to enjoy as many places and experiences as possible before your life came to an end.
Have a wonderul spring time everyone.