Hypnotic Hokusai and Mindfulness

Will the boil or stay dry?

Hello, friends. Everyone may not know this artist’s name but everyone knows the painting. Isn’t it breathtaking?

Wave by Hokusai

Great Wave off Kanagawa

In fact, it is so familiar that you may now just see it instead of looking at it. Isn’t another example like the ones on my home page which show people doing but not paying any attention. This is exactly like many of us lead our routine lives, going around like computerized robots.

I am saying to you to take a few minutes look at and absorb this painting, called The Wave. It is from the early 1800s (Hokusai b 1760 d 1849). Startling. He directly influenced the Impressionists We would not have had Degas or Monet without Hokusai.

Remember that Mindfulness is about being aware in the moment. This painting is about a moment in time. It may be promising violence; we wonder what is going to happen to the fishermen. Maybe nothing – the past has happened already and the future hasn’t happened yet. If the fishermen panic, they will drown. The next moments will test their skill.

Begin with your Beginner’s Mind as though you have never seen the painting before and never seen this particular painting. Look at details, colors, textures, comparative sizes and identifying features.

Have you seen anything you never noticed before? And this is only the beginning.

Mount Fuji is visible in the distance, a symbol in direct contrast to the wave. It is still and monumental, regal. It represents safety and protection if the fishers can but reach the shore. There are many meditations called ‘The Mountain’ because meditators strive to be as quiet in through their journey through life.

This picture may speak to some about life in general and we identify with the fishermen’s desperate struggle to survive. Another idea is that huge waves are difficult to control. But what about underneath the wave. In the deeper water, it is calm whatever is taking place on the surface.

If we practice Mindfulness we are hoping to attain that quiet peaceful underwater state in which the world above goes about its frenzied existence.

The Wave attests to the impermanence of everything in existence. Do not cling because it will not continue to be the same. Don’t take anything for granted.



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