Anger or reflection... which would you choose?
In one of my more philosophical moments the other night, I happened to mention that I remember hearing about an ancient oriental philosophy that says, "If a valuable glass breaks you should not be angry with it being broken, but instead reflect on all the times you enjoyed the glass before it broke"... or something to that effect.
The discussion admittedly was around how hard doing that can be.
Afterwards, recalling the discussion and racking my brain as to where I had heard about my so-called oriental philosophy (and if it was in fact even real), I did what any inquisitive person would do... I turned to the Internet.
I was not able to validate my oriental philosophy of "reflecting on all the times you enjoyed the glass before it broke", but I did discover Kintsugi.
Something that as an art form is simply beautiful, and as a philosophy is simply marvellous.
Kintsugi is a Japanese philosophy (and art) that treats "breakage" as part of the history of an object, and not something to be thrown away or disguised; it is illustrated by repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum.* Getting back to those philosophical discussions from the other night, Kintsugi would have been a nice addition because some of the talk was about the scrapes, scars and breaks that are part of our journey; literally and figuratively.
As I reflect more on recent discussions, as well as newly found philosophies, it all seems to be one big fat allegory for working through the trials and tribulations of life.
- Things in life break, both figuratively and literally; objects, situations, relationships and even people. Reflection offers a far more positive energy, whereas anger offers nothing but the negative form... intuitively and practically, we all know anything positive is the way to go.
- When things break, they can be put back together. By definition, the very act of being repaired makes it different, but that doesn't mean it will to be any less beautiful.
- The scrapes, scars, and breaks that come with the journey of life should be celebrated... they are part of who we are, and that is a beautiful thing. We all have stories to share and celebrate.
- Kintsugi in an allegorical sense, like being reflective, is not easy but can be done, and must be a conscious choice. With patience, skill and desire, something wonderful can come from all those pieces.
So for me, I choose "reflection". Just look what happens when you add some "discussion" and access to the Internet.
* Many thanks to the Internet and Wikipedia for helping me discover Kintsugi.