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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Nov 26, 2014, 07:14 PM

3. Thank you for posting!!!


See what I did there?

Quite and interesting and timely topic!

It seems that in our culture, or maybe it's part of the human condition, we often need to be deliberate in showing gratitude.

We have set aside one day a year to formalize this, after which one might think we can go back to the daily business of making ends meet, not getting hit by a bus, and all the rest.

Other cultures have more regular and periodic practices and traditions. Saying grace before a meal can, for example, also be used to recognize and honor that one has food to eat and is with loved ones.

Once a day or thrice a day, that beats once every Autumn!

My favorite cultural acknowledgment of the special quality of every moment is the Japanese Tea Ceremony, more specifically, "the Ichi-go ichi-e":

Ichi-go ichi-e: this is the moment

Tea Following up on Benjamin Zander's inspirational teachings on the art of possibility (and performance), allow me to share a simple idea from the art of tea or Sadou, "the way of tea." You may think that the traditional art of Sadou (茶? is a strange place to glean lessons that can be applied to various aspects of our daily lives, but the simple practical lessons from the Zen arts run deep and wide. Ichi-go ichi-e (一期一? is a concept connected to the way of tea; it expresses the ideal of the way of tea. Roughly translated the phrase means "one time, one meeting" or "one encounter; one opportunity." In the way of tea we should respect the host and the others in the garden and the tea room and honor the moment as if it were a once-in-a-lifetime gathering. That is, we should cherish every meeting for it will never happen again. Ichi-go ichi-e is a reminder that each tea ceremony is unique even though the elements are familiar.

But it's not only about the specialness of each moment in the moment, but that every moment is eternal, too:

Application for presentation
Each occasion to present or speak publicly is also a unique event although your material may be so familiar that it feels routine. Being completely present in a presentation right here right now is something I always touch upon when discussing the delivery of a talk. The moment will never happen again, even if you do the same talk 100 times or more, the audience is different in each case. The audience is different, the time is different, and since your last talk, you are different.

Forever but never again
This idea of ichi-go ichi-e reminded me of a line from a famous jazz ballad from 1949 called "Again" (Mark Murphy's Stolen Moments version is my favorite; here are the lyrics). There is nothing "Zen" about the lyrics or their origins, of course, but there is one line from the song that has stayed with me since I bought the Mark Murphy album when I was 16: "We'll have this moment forever, but never again." I didn't understand that line when I was in high school, but it stuck with me. Now those simple eight words are almost a kind of mantra for me; and the meaning is clear and illuminating.


Ichi-go ichi-e, my friend!

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