Yugen and Me

November 29th, 2011

Yugen (u-gen), Japanese: an awareness of the world that triggers feelings too profound and mysterious for words. When that happens to me, it’s usually the result of letting the natural world in past my big giant head, which is always over-thinking, planning, posing, supposing. One of my best memories — which I have to approach sideways in order not to wear it out or lose it — is of standing in front of a huge overgrown wall of purple morning glories on a walk and suddenly having a fleeting insight into how small I was in the vastness of being. It only lasted for seconds and yet years later I remember it as being a long stop-time in which I was completely open and permeable to existence. It was mystical and completely out of character. The only times that come close are when I sometimes make eye contact with a stranger and feel overwhelmed by tenderness for their suffering, enduring, surviving, persisting humanness. When something like that makes it through my tough, 21st century hide, I kind of swoon inside like a Victorian lady. As I took this photo out the window of my third-floor office (my personal laboratory for cloud and shadow study), I was lifted out of myself for a second into a melancholy, unnameable yearning upward. Yugen.

One Response to “Yugen and Me”

  1. Molly says:

    Everything about this feels luminous to me. Thank you for giving me a term to anchor that feeling of transcendence.

Leave a Reply