Goeke talks about a zen story that goes something like this:
A Zen master was given a beautifully crafted crystal cup. It was a gift from a former student. He was very grateful. Every day, he enjoyed drinking out of his glass. He would show it to visitors and tell them about the kindness of his student. But every morning, he held the cup in his hand for a few seconds and reminded himself: “This glass is already broken.” One day, a clumsy visitor toppled the glass on its shelf. The cup fell down. When it hit the floor, it was smashed into thousands of tiny pieces.
The other visitors gasped in shock, but the Zen master remained calm. Looking at the mess in front of his feet, he said: “Ah. Yes. Let’s begin.”He picked up a broom and started sweeping.
Half of happiness is being okay with what you don’t get but the other half is being okay with losing what you have. If you are grateful for your possessions, you are ahead of most. But the man who knows they won’t last is ahead of him still. kintsugi (金継ぎ) is a a traditional Japanese art that restores broken objects with gold or silver so that the cracks are illuminated and highlighted, not hidden. By repairing the broken object, breathing new life into it, the pottery is more beautiful for having been broken… for having these precious scars. And then one day, they are gone.
Sandy, I think this is how life works. If we choose to embrace our struggles and repair ourselves with love, we too become more beautiful for having been broken. Our scars, our cracks, are what makes us resilient, builds toughness and helps us grow in ways we never imagined. And then one day, they are gone.
John, thank you for sharing this lovely story.
Yes, I agree that since life is about change, and often the changes leave scars, it’s very important for us to adapt to the new (even when something appears to be broken), and turn it into a positive. There is always something to learn from change, and it often opens up space for something even better (like the beautiful gold or silver in the cracks).
However, I also believe that it’s important to expect and focus on the positive. Although I know that some day the glass might break, I choose to focus on how lovely it is now and how much I enjoy using it every day. If that changes, I am prepared to work with it and find the gold, but I believe there is already gold in all the joy it is bringing now.
Please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom and experience.
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