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Ichigo

Ichigo
Autumn can feel bittersweet; summer's gone, the light is fading, it's getting colder, the year is warpspeeding to its inevitable end. But there's something so magical about the colors, halloween, the crisp air ... it seems shorter than the other seasons, and more fleeting, more ephemeral.

Some people feel a sense of dread or sadness as autumn turns toward winter, but for me it's delicious. It's very ephemerality brings to mind the Japanese expression ichigo ichie, loosely translated as "here and now, this moment." You can breathe in this "autumness" feeling anytime, simply by remembering to pause and simply drink it in. Try it.

In a sense, everything is ichigo ichie. Stuff arises, then it passes away. Sounds, aromas, movement around us, our thoughts (especially our thoughts).

When we are carried off by thoughts, we get sucked into that vortex. They feel so real! But those thoughts -- in fact every thought you've ever had -- have floated up, and then floated away. Whatever emotion you felt yesterday, or even an hour ago, or even a minute ago, is no longer there unless you continue to manufacture it. And even now, as you're reading this, if some emotion arises because you've  merged with that thought, it too will pass away the second its power loses its grip.

This arising and passing of absolutely everything isn't some subjective claim about how the mind works. You can test it empirically for yourself with some practice. And when the truth of it kicks it, it can be a profoundly liberating moment. (Which, too, will pass away. Alas.)

Someone wise once said, "the most important thing is to remember the most important thing." Ichigo ichie seems important, doesn't it?