Posts Tagged ‘wabi’

This morning I awoke to my wife’s warm back against my back, soft blankets over me, pillows all around me, my cat warm against the back of my legs and the sound of a central air unit heating my home. 

I give thanks! 

The simplest things are the best things and may bring us into a lucid state of robust and capacious tranquillity.

Everyday things like warm blankets create hygge, the centuries old Scandinavian concept of a moment of well being, a cozy, warm, special and charming essence. 

My sweet wife and I keep our home simple and uncluttered. We are aiming for hygge. We want to experience the essence of the simple and yet refined. 

Our hardwood hickory floors are to me the great forests of the world and I love their knots and their grain patterns and their woody imperfections too. Our granite countertops, the producets of great heat and pressure, swilled and chunked with quartz and feldspar and mica, these are our ancient cliffs and lovely mountain peaks. The many windows and glass doors in our home —  these invite in the sunshine, green trees, blue sky and evening sunsets.. 

This afternoon I walked into the family room. The light streamed through the blinds and pane windows, jalousied, glorious, lambent, splendid, divine!

I see the essence of each thing and am grateful. I want to drop into a state of allostasis, emotional stability, and be at peace with my world. I try. I move a little way in. I want to go deeper. I want to see and give thanks. 

I think of Martin Burber and his book I And Thou. Buber writes of  “I-It” relationships, it being an object or even idea that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience.

The flowering pear tree I see though my double-paned windows, what this it to me? It’s now in full bloom. It looks like a bride, decked in white. If I comprehend its essence, if I respect it’s being, if I sense its center of value it becomes to me an entheogen. Inviting me into the presence it becomes a Thou, it moves from it to you, and I enter into a reciprocal, enlarging relationship with it. I become a transparent eyeball absorbent and give thanks for all trees, all plants and all living things great and small, and we are I and Thou.

Too often the things around me are assumed by me, undervalued, under-noted, unrecognized. I see them merely as out-of-focus background.

But what I am longing for is to see things for what they are and to rejoice in them and be thankful for them.

Simple things create the Japanese sense of wabi sabi. Wabi” is  defined as “rustic simplicity” or “understated elegance” with a focus on a less-is-more mentality. “Sabi” is translated to “taking pleasure in the imperfect.”

The Japanese idea of Shibusa is similar. It is an enriched, subdued appearance of something, say a vase, or the experience of intrinsically fine quality in an object with economy of form, line, and effort, producing a timeless tranquility. 

We have many decorative vases in our home, some bursting over with dried flowers. We have placed vases in our home because they are grace and beauty, their lines form curves of tranquility.  We take in their je ne sais quoi and intuit their household salience, surd, voiceless, aphonic yet known. 

I am very thankful, but there is even more and even greater to be thankful for.

I sat with my wife this morning over hot coffees discussing the highlights of our marriage. Her pour-over coffee equipment, my espresso machine, our its that are also thou’s fueled us with the jolt that made us talk. We love our technology, how it dialogs with us, hissing and beeping and gurgling life-giving juice. In steaming coffee mugs there is hygge.

 I give thanks. 

And as we talked we entered into Buber’s I-Thou, an  “I” relating to a “Thou,” a sacred relationship with each other in which the other is not separated by discrete bounds.

My wife and I are two but we are One. Our experiences have merged. The boundaries between us have faded. Ant yet they haven’t, and yet they move closer than ever before. We have been through fire and rain and it has put us in each other more. 

I’m putting her first more often now, to honor her uniqueness and make it my own. She often thinks of me and puts me first and often thinks of others. She’s a problem solver. She bakes for others, finds books for them, recommends doctors for them, sews for them, helps them raise their  babies. To me she is a thou that leads me toward deeper relationships with other Thou’s. 

I am so thankful for her! I surge forward, seeking more thankfulness for her. I am her, and so I take care of her as I take care of myself. This comes from God! All good things come from God. For Martin Buber the ultimate thou was God. 

God is not an it but a Thou who created all the its and they reflect him and he made all the thous and they have value because his image, his Thou, is in them, and his purpose is to make them one and so I long for a relationship with all things great and small and with all people and with all of God, a dialogic, value-laden, knowledge-heavy intimacy — hygge and wabi sabi in all things. 

Oh world, you can be so savage and so horrible but at the same time you are so beautiful and so intimate and so present as essence, quintessence and incandescence of God. 

I have a new appetency for gratitude.

I long and press on with all of you as you all long with me, and we long together to be scandalously, shamelessly and infamously grateful.