‘There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in’
Kintsugi also known as Kintsukuroi (golden repair) is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum.
The craft dates back to the late 15th century. It started when the Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a cracked chawan- or tea bowl- to China to undergo repairs. He was displeased with the results which impelled his contemporary craftsmen to find an alternative, aesthetically pleasing method of repair, and Kintsugi was born.
This enchanting craft often makes the repaired piece, or Kintsugi bowl, even more beautiful than the original, revitalizing it with a new look and giving it a second life.
I was a cracked bowl, pitted and scarred, when I first met my Master, Om Swamiji. Cracked and racked with low self-esteem, resentments and regrets. You name it, I had it. Some cracks were gaping holes through which my self-confidence and sense of worthiness were seeping away. Some parts of the bowl were discoloured with guilt and shame. A longing to belong, to be loved for myself were the raw sharp shards. The bowl was filled to the brim with murky desires and debris of self-pity.
A childhood lacking in gentleness, an unfulfilling marriage, an emotionally abusive relationship, my own conditioning, inherent tendencies and wrong choices were the blows that had cracked and blemished the bowl.
He saw everything, inside out. One glance was all it took. He filled up my cracks with the liquid gold of his mercy. He repainted my discoloured parts with the vibrant pigment of His unbounded love. The sharp shards were smoothed over by the flowing silver of His grace. The lacquer of his
non-judgemental acceptance firmly sealed all the rifts and cracks.
The bowl is no longer ashamed of its scars and imperfections. It celebrates those. But for them, it wouldn’t have known the magic of Master’s golden touch. He breathed new life into it.
He taught the bowl to accept its flaws, rejoice in its uniqueness. Master craftsman that He is, He revived my dignity and self-respect.
There are still some hairline cracks but He is working on them silently and patiently. The new bowl doesn’t look like the old one anymore. There is a glow, a radiance to it which comes from being lovingly cleaned and polished.
I am afraid, the Kintsugi bowl is not yet fully empty. It still has some stubborn stains and hardened gunk. But, I am sure a day will come when it will be squeaky clean and will spill over with the crystal clear waters of love.
PS: This Kintsukuroi bowl will be two years old this Guru Purnima.
My heart is overwhelmingly filled with gratitude towards my Master craftsman. This kintsugi belongs to You.
Image courtesy of Lakeside Pottery Studio www.lakesidepottery.com