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Archive for the 'Hokusai Wave' Category

wabi-sabi, a mindful approach to everyday life…

Friday, January 18th, 2013
the beauty of imperfection

the beauty of imperfection

Wabi and sabi refers to a mindful approach to everyday life.  Over time their meanings overlapped and converged until they are unified into Wabi-sabi, the aesthetic defined as the beauty of things “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

Things in bud, or things in decay, as it were, are more evocative of wabi-sabi than things in full bloom because they suggest the transience of things.  As things come and go, they show signs of their coming or going and these signs are considered to be beautiful.

In this, beauty is an altered state of consciousness and can be seen in the mundane and simple.  The signatures of nature can be so subtle that it takes a quiet mind and a cultivated eye to discern them. In Zen philosophy there are seven aesthetic principles for achieving Wabi-Sabi.

Fukinsei: asymmetry, irregularity

Kanso: simplicity

Koko: basic, weathered

Shizen: without pretense, natural

Yugen: subtly profound grace, not obvious

Datsuzoku: unbounded by convention, free

Seijaku: tranquility

Each of these things are found in nature but can suggest virtues of human character and appropriateness of behaviour. This, in turn suggests that virtue and civility can be instilled through an appreciation of, and practice in, the arts.  Hence, aesthetic ideals have an ethical connotation and pervades much of the Japanese culture.

adapted from wikipedia.org

Zen Alarm Clock, Ukiyo-e Hokusai Wave Dial Face

Zen Alarm Clock, Ukiyo-e Hokusai Wave Dial Face

Now & Zen Headquarter Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Chime Alarm Clocks, Hokusai Wave, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Progressive Awakening, wabi-sabi


Ukiyo Floating World, a Buoyant World… Brought to You From The Zen Alarm Clock Store, Boulder, CO

Monday, December 10th, 2012
Utamaro Ukiyo-e, Two Ladies With Flowers

Utamaro Ukiyo-e, Two Ladies With Flowers

The “Floating World” described the urban lifestyle, especially the pleasure-seeking aspects, of the Edo-period Japan (1600 –1867).

The term is also an ironic allusion to the homophone (the same as another word but differs in meaning) “Sorrowful World”, the earthly plane of death and rebirth from which Buddhists sought release.

The contemporary novelist Asai Ryoi, in his Ukiyo monogatari (“Tales of the Floating World”, c. 1661), provides some insight into the concept of the floating world:

… Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating, floating; … refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating along with the river current: this is what we call the floating world…

Ukiyo floating world adapted from wikipedia.org

One of the ultimate Zen like experiences is waking-up from a great slumber refreshed and energized. Your mind and body are harmoniously one, both alert and focused. Having a refreshed mind and body are two keys to a natural and Zen lifestyle. Waking up in the morning should not be a loud and abrupt awakening, but rather it should be a peaceful positive experience.  The right natural alarm clock can transition your deep and tranquil sleep into a serene start to consciousness. Imagine a long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime waking you up to a beautiful morning experience.

The right alarm clock can be the most beneficial investment for you. With our Now & Zen natural alarm clock you are awakened more gradually and thus more naturally. Now & Zen is focused on creating a naturalistic lifestyle, and our clocks are an example of our philosophy.

Zen Alarm Clock, Ukiyo-e Hokusai Wave Dial Face

Meditation Clock Timer- Zen Alarm Clock, Ukiyo-e Hokusai Wave Dial Face

Now & Zen – The Zen Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Beauty, Cherry Blossoms, Chime Alarm Clocks, Hokusai Wave, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Progressive Awakening, Zen Timers


Soul-Renewing Walking Meditation, Tips from Now & Zen – The Meditation Timer Store

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
walking in waves, a mindfulness meditation

walking in waves, a mindfulness meditation

There is nothing more soul-renewing than a very long, meandering, aimless walk. And I do mean aimless — as in, “I’m heading out! I have no idea how long I’ll be or where I’m going!”

I started walking this way quite by accident, in the midst of recovering from the heartache and confusion of losing my job. I had been slothful through winter, alternating between insomnia and sleeps so deep I wasn’t sure what day it was when I woke. But with the changing light of spring, I was beckoned out of doors.

Finding Peace Amidst the Chaos
I was in Manhattan, and cities are excellent places for meditative walks. They’re full of interruptions and distractions, but there is always a bus stop or a person with directions within easy distance. So you can suspend the anxiety about getting lost or getting home.

And all that noise does for humans what shape does for bats: Even if we aren’t tuning into it, it guides our steps and signals danger or direction.

A city walk also delivers the pleasure of unexpected architectural discoveries: trolls clinging to the corners of buildings, swags of flowers carved into stone friezes.

These days I’m walking in the country, in coastal Rhode Island, where the blackbirds and foxes keep me company.

“Exploring the world is one of the best ways of exploring the mind,” writes Rebecca Solnit in “Wanderlust: A History of Walking.” The mind eventually begins to follow the feet, and a logjam of anxiety starts to come loose.

Soul-Renewing Walking Meditation

Soul-Renewing Walking Meditation

From Type A to Point Be
Long walks are the cure for writer’s block, lover’s block, mother’s block, friendship block, and any other kind of obstacle that we try to deliberately gnaw our way through, worrying over the problem and getting nowhere.

Better to let yourself really go nowhere and experience the delicious paradox of losing yourself to find yourself.

Walking with indirection has, at heart, a paradoxical benefit. When you stop making decisions for a little while, before you know it, you are filled with purpose, and the goals and paths of your life take on a new clarity.

It is by such grace that life unfolds; how lovely to suspend disbelief (I will never feel good again) and arrive at conviction: Life is wonderful! What a joy to be moving!

How-To: Walking as Meditation

1. Focus on your breathing. Paul Smith, walking-meditation instructor at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, recommends inhaling slowly through your nose for 4 steps, keeping your breath in for 2 steps, exhaling for 4 steps, then waiting 2 steps before inhaling again.

2. Gently corral your wandering mind. Try repeating an affirmation in time with your breathing and steps. Smith recommends phrases such as “My life is a pleasure,” “I speak the truth and listen without judging,” or “I see all things in clarity.” Another trick: Visualize putting your worrisome thoughts in a balloon and letting go of the string.

3. Hold one hand behind your back. This will help slow you down. “Don’t let yourself get into race-walking mode,” Smith says.

4. Pay attention to your senses. Focus on vision first, which is easiest. Notice a plane overhead, leaves in the trees. Then notice sounds around you, the sun on your face, the smell of cut grass. Smith says, “These are ways to stay in the present.”

5. On a practical note: If you’re walking for distance, carry a little “mad money” in case you tucker out miles away. But no cell phone — or turn it off if you must have it on you.

adapted from Wholeliving.com, September 2010 by Dominique Browning

Singing Bowl Meditation Timer & Alarm Clock

Singing Bowl Meditation Timer & Alarm Clock

Our Zen Timepiece’s – (a Singing Bowl Meditation Timer) acoustic 6-inch brass bowl-gong clock is the world’s ultimate alarm clock, practice timer, and “mindfulness bell.”
Hokusai Wave Zen Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock

Hokusai Wave Zen Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock

Now & Zen – The Meditation Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Hokusai Wave, intention, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, nature, Walking Meditation, Well-being, Zen Timers


A Philosopher Asks Buddha

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
buddha

buddha

A Philosopher Asks Buddha

A philosopher asked Buddha: “Without words, without silence, will you tell me the truth?” The Buddha sat quietly. The philosopher then bowed and thanked the Buddha, saying, “With your loving kindness I have cleared away my delusions and entered the true path.” After the philosopher had gone, Ananda asked Buddha what the philosopher had attained. The Buddha commented, “A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip.”

Zen Koans by Venerable Gyomay Kubose

gong meditation timer

gong meditation timer

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO  80302

Posted in Hokusai Wave, zen Koans


Entering Silence

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
 
entering silence, starry night in the wilderness

entering silence, starry night in the wilderness

How one woman survived three days in the wilderness—alone.

I shivered in the pitch-black night as a steady rain showered my head. I sank deeper into a state of abject loneliness with every miserable drop. My saturated sleeping bag weighed me down as I searched blindly for my flashlight, all the while berating myself for not tying up the tarp before I fell asleep beneath a formerly clear, starry night.

Feeling panicky on the first night of my solo experience in the woods, I imagined the worst—three days of rainy, damp desolation. What am I doing here? I wondered. I could be home, snuggled up with my husband in our cozy bed!

And then it hit me. I realized that this moment was exactly why I had come here—to face my demons head-on, to ride out the fear of being alone in the dark and of being eaten, possibly, by a bear. Isn’t that what a vision quest is all about? Flinging oneself into the wilderness (in this case, a California state park on Labor Day weekend, but still) to test one’s inner strength and hopefully receive some sort of life guidance, perspective, and inspiration?

For the last 10 years, I had contemplated embarking on a quest like this with awe and trepidation. An extrovert by nature, I thrive on the company of others. I can’t be alone in my own house for five minutes without feeling anxious, so how could I endure three entire days by myself? I feared I would go crazy with no one to talk to, engulfed by the deafening silence of nature.

To my surprise, I discovered that nature is extremely loud. Have you ever heard throngs of blue jays chattering overhead at the crack of dawn? I was definitely not alone—from the disturbed gopher under my sleeping bag (was I camped on his house?) to the constant parade of insects, birds, and critters, I was in a forest teaming with life and endless entertainment.

Two days later as I packed my gear, I had a hard time believing the time had passed so quickly. Suddenly the power of facing and overcoming my deepest fears overwhelmed me, and I fell to my knees sobbing. A strength I never knew existed inside me welled up as I realized I could now be alone and unafraid.

I shouldered my backpack, danced a little jig to celebrate my emancipation, and walked out of the wilderness a changed woman.

adapted from Natural Solutions Magazine, Sept. 2009 by Laura Gates

Zen Alarm Clock, a natural chime sound alarm clock

Zen Alarm Clock, a natural chime sound alarm clock

 

 Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Chime Alarm Clocks, Hokusai Wave, intention, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Progressive Awakening, sleep, Well-being


Hokusai’s art: Japanese woodblock prints are part of Now & Zen’s history

Monday, March 8th, 2010
Hokusai Wave Zen Alarm Clock by Now & Zen

Hokusai Wave Zen Alarm Clock by Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Now & Zen’s first Zen Alarm Clock dial face was inspired by the great Japanese printmaker, Hokusai.  Steve McIntosh’s love of ukiyo-e lead him to the print by Hokusai called, ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’.

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period.  In his time, he was Japan’s leading expert on Chinese painting.  Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the iconic and internationally recognized print,The Great Wave off Kanagawa, created during the 1820s.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai

Ukiyo-e, as practiced by artists like Hokusai, focused on images of the courtesans and Kabuki actors who were popular in Japan’s cities at the time.

Hokusai eventually changed the subjects of his works, moving away from the images of courtesans and actors that were the traditional subjects of ukiyo-e.  Instead, his work became focused on landscapes and images of the daily life of Japanese people from a variety of social levels.

Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60. His most popular work is the ukiyo-e series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which was created between 1826 and 1833.  It actually consists of 46 prints (10 of them added after publication).  In addition, he is responsible for the 1834 One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji ) a work which “is generally considered the masterpiece among his landscape picture books.”

Red Fuji Ukiyo-e Print by Hokusai's series: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji

Red Fuji Ukiyo-e Print by Hokusai's series: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji has traditionally been linked with eternal life.

His influences also stretched to his contemporaries in nineteenth century Europe whose new style Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil in Germany, was influenced by him and by Japanese art in general. This was also part of the larger Impressionist movement, with similar themes to Hokusai appearing inClaude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Steve McIntosh, Founder of Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Steve McIntosh, Founder of Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

All Now & Zen products have been conceived and designed by Steve McIntosh.  Steve’s love of beauty and passion for spiritual practice led him to found Now & Zen with the goal of creating products that would make a real difference in people’s lives.  Steve created Now & Zen’s brand aesthetic by combining the harmonic proportions of sacred geometry with motifs from traditional Japanese culture.  This has resulted in product designs that have a timeless, universal appeal.

Now & Zen Headquarter Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

Posted in Beauty, Hokusai Wave, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks