Repairing the Cracks in Us

Perfectionism, a constant mental state we strive towards. An unobtainable, idealistic condition of reality. Our burden and carrot on a stick. Excellence in our personal and professional life is barely tolerable. We must move forward to the next star. For shooting at the moon is far too meager of a goal. We, the professional, the business oriented human work, day in and day out towards a state of being which does not exist since the beginning of our universe. Perfectionism can be admirable. Yet it will be the early death of us all. In our lives and in our relationships, perfectionism and its evil sister intolerance often destroys as much as drive us forward.There is another way to strive towards your goals. Kintsugi or “Golden Joinery” the Japanese art form of repairing broken pottery with gold, silver and other precious metals doubles as a philosophy. In the 15th century of feudal Japan, a notable Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimas introduced the technique when a Chinese tea bowl returned from repairs riddled with staples. Looking at the ugly repairs on his precious tea bowl, the Shogun spoke with several craftsmen who came up with a better solution. Thus Kintsugi was born. In those days, during the height of Higashiyama Culture, the tea ceremony, or Sado became a critical component of the culture. When the Shogun used a broken tea pot during a critical ceremony, it threw every member of court for a loop. It also caused many to admire and reflect upon this. After much introspection, several Zen Buddhist philosophies such as Wabi Sabi and Mushin grew further during this time. Many people began smashing their pottery on purpose, just to have golden joinery applied to it. Wabi Sabi, the Japanese philosophy, holds tenants consisting of impermanence, suffering and emptiness. Pottery fixed to become something better in this life reflected these ideas. Even though life is temporary and we all must suffer, one can find beauty in our own flaws. We can transcend our past, our problems and become something better. It is OK not to be perfect. Our flaws can be turned into strengths. Our imperfections a beauty born of suffering. Martial artists enter into a heightened state called, Mushin, or No Mind. One can think of the mind on overdrive where mere words cannot express the quickness of thought and action. This technique is expressed in Kintsugi as the broke pottery accepts the fate given to it. Damaged and now repaired, the pottery becomes a beautiful object, more valuable than before, because of the flaws illuminated. The repaired cracks in the pottery express strength through suffering, as it endured destruct

Source: Repairing the Cracks in Us

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