Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Summer is always a time to relax and make time for ourselves, something that’s especially important now. While you’re enjoying sunny days, the Japanese philosophy of ichigo ichie (living in the moment) may be just what you need to regenerate.
A phrase that might sound silly the first time you hear it, ichigo ichie is a tenet of Zen Buddhism that dates to 16th century Japanese tea ceremonies.
It calls on us to use all our senses to take in and celebrate the beauty of the moment, here and now. Instead of fixating on the past or worrying about the future, it is a chance to get rid of our negative emotions and feelings of fear, sadness, or anger.
Performing the tea ceremony’s intricate rituals of preparing and drinking the tea causes us to focus intently on each step of the process and the environment itself, being fully engaged in the moment and finding harmony and tranquility.
Ichigo ichie also heightens our awareness of the fleeting nature of time and the need to embrace the things and experiences that are meaningful to us before they are gone – such as the famed Japanese cherry blossoms that only bloom for a short time in the spring.
When Japanese greet each other by saying “ichigo ichie” it tells you that the encounter is unique and special and should not be allowed to slip away. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be savored.
By employing ichigo ichie and savoring the moment we can enhance our awareness and joy of life and create harmonious interactions with others.
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