Kintsugi – philosophy of no-mind

When it comes to researching about ways we can help ourselves overcome the struggles and strife of everyday life, more and more people are coming across the unusual ancient Japanese art form of ‘Kintsugi’.

Kintsugi is literally translated as ‘golden joinery’ and dates back to 15th century Japan when Japanese craftsmen were looking for more beautiful ways they can repair their previous broken ceramics.

The process requires patience and should be handled with care as the craftsman checks out the circumstances of the break and work out HOW they can put the pieces back together. Then a resin or lacquer that acts like glue is applied between the broken lines, which can take up to a week to harden and dry. This process is sometimes repeated up to 3 times until the craftsman is satisfied that the pieces are firmly held together. Finally, a gold dust is applied on top of the fracture lines to accentuate the broken lines and make the ceramic even more beautiful and stronger.

Kintsugi is based on the idea that strength and beauty can exist in imperfection and should be embraced and accepted rather than disguised and hidden. Many people have taken this art form and applied it to their own imperfections and brokenness.

It represents picking up your broken pieces and taking the time to sit and slowly put your pieces back together to create something better.

Kintsugi reminds us that suffering and brokenness is a part of life and will happen to most people. But how we treat our broken pieces is the important part:

  • do we give up on them and throw them away?
  • do we take the time to love, repair and accept them?

It helps us see things in a different perspective:

  1. In a world focused on perfection, this art form reminds us that we should be focused on building resilience and strength in ourselves rather than striving to achieve impossible perfection.
  2. It refocuses our attention away from what USED to be to what it COULD be. 

Author J. K. Rowling once said, “The knowledge that you emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive”.

Last of all, it reminds us that if we break something precious to us, it’s not the end of the world and it can be fixed. Take a look around you. Everyone we look up to who inspires us has gone through something that has made them more beautiful and much stronger. They were faced with the choice to either give in to fear and disappear or use their flaws to create something extraordinary…

Next post – 7 facts from Japanese diet