Mono no Aware (物の哀れ) – The impermanence of things.

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Mono no aware is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence (mujō 無常), or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life.  Impermanence is the philosophical problem of change. In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are 3 characteristics of all existence and being namely: Impermanence (anicca), non-self (anatta), and unsatisfactoriness or suffering (dukkha).

When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the soul laughs for what it has found. ~ Sufi aphorism

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus shared the same sentiment that nothing in this world is constant except change and becoming (Everything is impermanent).

No man ever steps in the same river twice. – Heraclitus

Nothing lasts forever: The young shall grow, the old shall die, life is in seasons, shoes are in sizes, life is a roller coaster of challenges: Sometimes you are down, sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down, sometimes you want to smile but the tears keep rolling. Life is always in transition, both the good and the bad. The key to happiness is lowering your expectations, never get too hot or cold, do not let success get into your head, and do not let failure get into your heart, that is you have to radically accept whatever happens to you in life: The good, the bad and the ugly because whatever would go wrong would eventually go wrong (Murphy’s law), every wound shall heal.

The Inevitability of Change 

In his book, Season of Life author Jim Rohn correlates the parallels between life and the changing seasons. The seasons of life is just like life itself: The seasons will change without fail. He writes:

The tide comes in and then recedes; the sun rises, giving light, and then sets, bringing darkness. Drought plagues the farm field of the world, followed by rain in abundance. On this day, we swelter under the intense heat of the August sun, and soon we clothe ourselves against the penetrating cold of the mid-winter storm. Prosperity brings her abundant opportunity and rewards but will withdraw at a future time when confronted by a receding business climate.

The smile gives way to the tear, as does the joy to the sorrow and the jubilation to the tragedy. Close friends become hated enemies. The guns and bloodshed of war are followed by the stillness of a temporary peace.

Life and business is like the changing seasons. You cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself. Therein lies the opportunity to live an extraordinary life, the opportunity to change yourself.

The confrontations, disappointments, and challenges of life are treated by each generation as though they are the first to experience such events, when in fact, the pre-Christian years saw the same occurrences both appear and dissolve.

For all of us, the only constant factor in life is our feelings and attitudes toward life. A major challenge faced by us all is that we learn to experience the changing of life’s cycles without being changed by them. To make a constant and conscious effort to improve ourselves in the face of changing circumstances is to assure a tolerance for the winters of life’s events, and to permit ourselves the full enjoyment of the blessings of life’s harvest come the autumn.

Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom – Jim Rohn

In his book,  Learned Optimism Dr Martin E. Seligman, writes about our explanatory styles in regards to how we view events in life. He writes

Explanatory style is the manner in which you habitually explain to yourself why events happen. It is the great modulator of learned helplessness. An optimistic explanatory style stops helplessness, whereas a pessimistic explanatory style spreads helplessness. Your way of explaining events to yourself determines how helpless you can become, or how energized, when you encounter the everyday setbacks as well as momentous defeats.

THERE ARE three crucial dimensions to your explanatory style: permanence, pervasiveness, and personalization.


PEOPLE WHO give up easily believe the causes of the bad events that happen to them are permanent: The bad events will persist, will always be there to affect their lives. People who resist helplessness believe the causes of bad events are temporary.”

If you think about bad things in always’s and never’s and abiding traits, you have a permanent, pessimistic style. If you think in sometimes’s and lately’s, if you use qualifiers and blame bad events on transient conditions, you have an optimistic style.

“Optimistic people explain good events to themselves in terms of permanent causes: traits, abilities, always’s. Pessimists name transient causes: moods, effort, sometimes.

Pervasiveness: Specific vs. Universal

“PERMANENCE is about time. Pervasiveness is about space.”

People who make universal explanations for their failures give up on everything when a failure strikes in one area. People who make specific explanations may become helpless in that one part of their lives yet march stalwartly on in the others.

“People who make permanent and universal explanations for their troubles tend to collapse under pressure, both for a long time and across situations.”

Personalization: Internal vs. External

When bad things happen, we can blame ourselves (internalize) or we can blame other people or circumstances (externalize). People who blame themselves when they fail have low self-esteem as a consequence. They think they are worthless, talentless, and unlovable. People who blame external events do not lose self-esteem when bad events strike. On the whole, they like themselves better than people who blame themselves do. Low self-esteem usually comes from an internal style for bad events.

Radical Acceptance

In her book, Radical Acceptance: Awakening the Love that Heals Fear and Shame, author and meditation teacher writes:

Part of the practice of Radical Acceptance is knowing that, whatever arises, whatever we can’t embrace with loveimprisons us — no matter what it is. If we are at war with it, we stay in prison. It is for the freedom and healing of our own hearts, that we learn to recognize and allow our inner life.

Life can be tough sometimes – you are either coming from a storm, heading to a storm, or going to the next storm. Life is a roller coaster of challenges, the good and the bad. Mono no aware is translated literally as the pathos of things. it is the feeling we get when we realize that beauty, youth, honour, fame, status, achievement and almost everything in life is transient, impermanent and transient.

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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