|Posted by Yoga Professionals on November 12, 2018 at 10:55 PM|
I really have no clue about the Japanese art form of Kintsugi, repairing broken ceramics and highlighting the cracks with golden ‘veins,’ yet I the concept and aesthetic of it, I'm drawn to it. Somehow it adds a certain extra beauty that for me wasn’t there in the original ‘perfect’ version. You might be thinking what does this have to do with yoga, bear with me.
Inspired by the artistic process I wrote this simple haiku:
Tea bowl shared with grace,
hard wood fails to break its fall;
anointed with gold.
With a little digging and curiosity on the subject of kintsugi I found some basic information available on the internet and with a few of my own thoughts thrown in documented them below. The subject stimulated me to consider the use of the gilding art form for ourselves, and honouring our own many broken and flawed traits. It took a deeper and more healing turn as I explored the enlightening subject futher, but I'll come to that a little later.
Kintsugi and Golden Repair.
Kintsugi translated from Japanese means golden repair or golden joinery and is the art of repairing broken Japanese ceramics and highlighting the chip, crack or broken pieces with gold dusted lacquer.
The Japanese aesthetic highlights, instead of hiding or denying the broken pieces of the previously perfect object. The imperfect bowl or vase, as an example, were even more highly prized and venerated for their flaws and imperfections.
This idea of embracing flaws can be seen as a reflection of the use, value and ‘life journey’ of the object and representative of how only in our fantasy does the idea of perfection exist.
In reality there is no such thing as perfect and shows our unhealthy obsessions and judgements we have today in the modern consumerist society and how maybe we have lost the ability to see the beauty all around us.
Darker, Yet More Enlightening Variation On The Haiku.
In the original haiku above the focus is on the flaw in the ceramics and expanded to consider how this can be a symbol of our ability to accept and love our own flaws, but an alternate version of the haiku below, explores a little deeper and considers the ultimate ‘imperfection’ of life, that of death.
Shadows held with grace,
hardwood failed to break their fall;
anoint with love's gold.
I think of this now as my younger brother Conrad has recently died and I'm filled with raw feelings and confused thoughts, including those of his 'broken' physicality, something that can't be repaired. Sometimes it is difficult to accept the abruptness and finality, and the loved ones ‘shadow’ can hang heavy before we can let go and find the light. Now I can see why I am so drawn to the art form.
Evermore so vivid and poingniant as I prepare to take his ashes to India, to the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, the sacred city of death and liberation (Moksha). I am both nervous and excited to fulfill his wishes to be taken there and let him free, to join with the great mothers waters and to become part of such a holy city.
Death And Our Own Golden Flaws.
The whole of life is in a continuing state of flux and decay and we are surrounded by flawed man-made and organic structures including ourselves and nature screaming fragile and imperfect. Including emotional, psychological and physical scars that have made us the broken glorious sum of who we are today.
The ‘broken’ idea of the dead, a beloved animal or loved one passed on and outside the ideal of ‘whole and perfect’ challenges our own ego 'perfection' and mortality. In witnessing their light extinguished, we must consider our own life, our light, for a while at least leaving us vulnerable and lost in the dark.
Can we find it within us to shine a light on the dead? At their most ‘vulnerable' and 'broken' time and honour them with gold, like the Kintsugi ceramics, brought to life and re-visioned, to remind us of the life they once lived and take an even more beautiful place in our lives now. Is this what the ancients mummification and entombment in golden sarcophagi symbolised?
Maybe we can't gild our loved ones but we can honour the vitality and essence the deceased once had, in memory of their lives, by living our own life fully, with vitality and tenderness enough for two, including venerating our own beautiful flaws and imperfections. Let’s gild them in shiny golden awareness and love, let the sacred waters of the holy carry their light, and our own within us for all to see, golden warts and all.