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Broken Beauty

The images I'm sharing with you have something in common. They're beautiful, but that’s not all!

They're all under the title “Broken Beauty”

This reasoning is obvious for the Kintsugi Bowl. It is about creating something beautiful out of a broken thing.

The Legend of Kintsugi

A Japanese legend tells the story of a mighty shogun warrior who broke his favorite tea bowl and sent it away for repairs. When he received it back, the bowl was held together by unsightly metal staples. Although he could still use it, the shogun was disappointed. Still hoping to restore his beloved bowl to its former beauty, he asked a craftsman to find a more elegant solution. 

The craftsman wanted to try a new technique, something that would add to the beauty of the bowl as well as repair it. So, he mended every crack in the bowl with a lacquer resin mixed with gold. When the tea bowl was returned to the shogun, there were streaks of gold running through it, telling its story, and—the warrior thought—adding to its value and beauty. This method of repair became known as kintsugi. 

Kintsugi, which roughly translates to “golden joinery,” is the Japanese philosophy that the value of an object is not in its beauty, but in its imperfections, and that these imperfections are something to celebrate, not hide.

Want to beautify your broken china this way? Just mix epoxy and golden mica powder and apply!

As Ernest Hemingway expresses it so well:

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

Or as Leonard Cohen says it so beautifully: "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

The same way, the incredible peonies need a cool period in winter, for dormancy, ensuring their buds will open to grow stems and flowers in spring. 

I would like to put that in parallel with all of us in this earthly life.

Sufferings and hardships are an unavoidable part of physical life and can be assets for personal and communal spiritual growth and lead to a happier existence.

All this brings to my mind the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha:

"The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow"

"The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most." 

"Through suffering he will attain to an eternal happiness which nothing can take from him. The apostles of Christ suffered: they attained eternal happiness." 

"To attain eternal happiness one must suffer. He who has reached the state of self-sacrifice has true joy. Temporal joy will vanish."