Untranslatable Words – Mono no Aware

Time and our conception of it is a curious thing to say the least. We battle it all the time, wishing to relive some memories whilst inhibiting and resisting other marks of time passing, like the onset of wrinkles and greying hair when one ages. Time seems to speed up the older we get, and fly when we are having a good time, and drag when we are bored. Time is relative, and we can decide how we see it.

That is why I love Eastern philosophies like Buddhism, as they recognise and accept the impermanence and transience of life and the moments it is made up of.

Mono no Aware is a Japanese term coined by Motoori Norinaga combining aware, which means sensitivity or sadness, and mono, which means “things.” This mood allows one to accept the fleeting, impermanent nature of life, whilst at the same time leaving space for some sadness at this transiency, especially when referring to the loss of precious people and memorable moments. Yet this term fuses this melancholy with a quiet rejoicing in the fact that we even got to experience the things we did and witness the beauty of life, no matter how fleetingly.

The best thing we can do, I guess, it just be present and enjoy the moment we find ourselves in.



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