Early in the morning, I meditated on the Kalalea Mountains while swimming in the waters of Kauai. Floating in the warm water, each wave washed through me, its action filling the emptiness in my soul. The sun shone on the mountaintop above me, but as quickly as the golden ridge appeared, it was gone. The Kalaleas were obscured, disappeared, in fact vanished. Had you just arrived you would never know the mountains existed. A cloudburst, a downpour, and then a waterfall tumbled down the mountains to the sea. Momentarily, the tempest ceased, the clouds parted and the sun returned to reign down upon the peak. And just as quickly the clouds returned, the mountains departed, and the waves again washed through me. I grasped the Buddhist understanding of faith.
Created by Tibetan monks, the great sand mandalas, objects of beauty, are readily swept away. By their impermanence, these objects teach us about truth. Their creation and their dissolution is an act of faith, revealing the beauty and truth of impermanence.
A haiku from Matsuo Basho captures this idea of impermanence well; beauty cannot be held captive. Beauty must be free, so it can return.
“The bee emerging
from deep within the peony