Trans4mind Home Page

Perfection, and the Impermanence of Life

By Charlie Badenhop

During my many years in Japan I've taken the opportunity to dabble in various Japanese arts. I always come away feeling inspired by the sensitivity and attention to detail that is expressed.

One of my explorations led me to take some lessons in "Ikebana", the Japanese art of flower arranging. During my brief training my teacher told me the following:

"In contrast to the massing of blooms typical of flower arrangements in the West, Ikebana is usually characterized by a line of twigs and/or leaves, connected by a sparse arrangement of flowers. The idea being to give the viewer the sense they have come across a scene in nature.

"In Ikebana it is common that one of the branches in an arrangement is bent or broken, to signify the practitioner has attempted to present the arrangement in a 'natural' state. It is the 'imperfection' of the broken branch that leads us to understand the practitioner is striving to express 'perfection' as it appears in nature. By viewing the arrangement it is hoped you might come to appreciate that your own 'broken branches' are what signify your uniqueness and beauty.

"Each one of us, no matter how successful or evolved we might appear to be, have imperfections and personal ego attachments. These imperfections and attachments are not something to be overcome or transcended, but rather aspects of our self to be understood, appreciated, and accepted. If we do not honor and appreciate our human frailties as an essential part of who we are, we will always be attempting to eradicate some aspect of ourself that we perceive to be lacking.

"Consider the sense of perfection and pure life force you get when holding a baby. It's the baby's uncontrived and unrestrained expression of their emotional experience that gives us a sense of life at its fullest. This is the inherent blessing that exists as the essence of life in its simplest and purest form. Rather than hoping for love or acceptance, the baby expresses who they are and what they feel, in this very moment. This is the same free flow of energy that the Ikebana practitioner strives to express in their floral arrangements. We look to strip our work of any contrived sense of beauty, so the natural energy and life force of the flowers can be freely expressed and felt. In other words, we attempt to present the flowers 'as they are', rather than attempting to add anything extra. We strive to let the flowers communicate directly, and thus in some way hope to reconnect the viewer to their own heartfelt sense of beauty and perfection."

At the conclusion of one lesson my teacher said:
"Today, there is one more thing I would like to say. I am drawn to flower arranging because it helps me understand and come to terms with the impermanence of life. No matter how beautiful the flowers appear to be when the arrangement is complete, I know they will only express their beauty for a few days time. By carefully cleaning and cutting the flowers and adding water, we can extend their life for a few precious moments. But in the end you're left with the understanding that neither the flowers nor any other form of life will last forever. One of the most important things we can do in life is appreciate the beauty and perfection that is present in our lives right now, rather than lamenting the passing of life. By appreciating the fleeting beauty of the flowers, you can come to understand the fleeting beauty of your own life, and the lives of those you love."
More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

Good info on many topics:
Submit your own article

Tools for Transformation

personal development
Trans4mind offers its visitors a huge range of complimentary personal development resources for self-directed education and transformation of the whole person...
Introduction to our Tools for Transformation. We aim to open up the mind to new ideas, new challenges and new solutions - to think differently and be creative.
Describes all the contents of
Here are our favorite quotes. The best quotes distill powerful wisdom into a few words and can make a real difference to our perception and understanding. Including:
Life  Purpose, Spiritual  Awareness, Success and Abundance, Wisdom from the Heart, Happiness and Wellbeing, Communication & Relationships, Motivation and Leadership, Parenting and Education, Emotional Intelligence, Transitions in Life, Social Community, Quirky Quotes, Creativity, Proverbs, Humor - and many further topics in the Wisdom from the Heart section.
Articles by Peter Shepherd and Wallace Huey. Imagine if the values of the heart could be brought into our families, communities, charities, organizations and businesses... what kind of a world would this create?
Audios by Peter Shepherd, focused on key personal development topics, to help advance your personal growth.
A free meditation program to help you experience the state of unconditional love - key to lasting joy and fulfillment in your life.
Become more clear about your own identity, what you want in life - your life vision - and how to manifest your full potential.
If we do actually have a soul, then where does it go after death? Near-death experiences provide convincing answers.
Check out our fascinating collection of complete books for you to read online, including Peter Shepherd’s Transforming the Mind, which created the foundation of this site back in 1997.
Over 250 PDFs to freely download covering many personal development topics - and including the range of Trans4mind publications.
Free personality test based on the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. See yourself as others may see you, in a more objective light, so you can know yourself better.
Watch our selection of over 400 personal development videos by top experts, offering many insights about mind, body and spirit.
Our site is expansive, including loads of helpful resources. See what else we have.

Check out the menus on the top of every page too!

Trans4mind Companies


Today companies need to find new and innovative ways to prosper in a fast-changing business world. Uniquely based on empowering personal development, supported by personal trainers, Trans4mind Training's online interactive video workshops meet this need without any disruption to your existing operations

Learn more & get started...

Unlocking Mental Wealth. Activating Self-Leadership
Hypnosis Downloads

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Copyright © 1997-2018 Trans4mind Ltd
Terms of Use & Privacy Policy       Email Webmaster