This weekend my son and I ended up at a Sand Mandala ceremony guided by Tibetan Monks. I just vaguely remembered that something about monks was going on at the Chinese Gardens, and we just happened to arrive as the ceremony was beginning. And there was a prayer carpet in the front row that was just the right size for us to sit together, crossed legged and curious. When things are that charmed, I always pay closer attention.
The creation of sand mandalas is a ritual in the impermanence of life. Incredibly complex patterns are painstakingly built by trinkling grains of coloured sand into their microscopic places. Mandalas can take many weeks to construct – not a grain out of place.
And then…the mandala is swept into the wind, the sea, or smeared up into a pile of nothing but sacred sand and given to worshipers or carried to the river by procession.
All that work. Then poof! Since not many of us have worked in the medium of sand, try this metaphor on for size: imagine covering a 5 x 5 foot canvas working with only the teeny tiniest brush. You work round the clock for weeks, barely eating. Eyes stinging, hands cramped. The perfect masterpiece of meaningful complexity – worthy of the Louvre. Instead of a gallery show or collecting a commission, you take it out back and burn it.
Imagine building a successful company from just an idea; weaving a marriage together for years; growing a community; a garden; a belief system that guides your entire life… and letting it all go, just walking away. No leverage, no strings, no regrets.
Could you do it?
I think I could. I think I might.