In the past, I have observed stark contrasts between the western world and Japan. One time I arranged flowers in the traditional Japanese way. It looked empty and poor to an American woman and she quickly changed my flower arrangement without asking me. And her flower arrangement looked haphazard. We had opposite aesthetic tastes. In the eastern world, we see beauty in subtraction to honor space. In the western world, we see beauty in addition to honor things.
These patterns of thoughts reflects our human presence too. In the western world, people appear to be guided by a spirit of self-sufficiency. Then they start to become pure consciousness in a human form. In Japan we try to be pure consciousness in a human form first, then we are guided by a spirit of self-sufficiency. To awaken into pure consciousness, we often purify ourselves with salt and water. It is common to see a small pile of salt in front of traditional Japanese restaurants. And most Japanese love hot springs, because taking baths includes both entertainment and casual purification.
Modern western therapy focuses on strengthening the clients’ identity or ego. On the other hand, eastern traditional healing focuses on awakening to transformation. In Japan, we don’t think that identity is so important because identity is just a temporal process to identify both our ego and our surroundings at one moment.
When we go deeply into the Japanese way of thinking, it is easy to see the earth-centered perspective. Also it is easy to sacrifice yourself. And you will be more curious about a truth rather than different opinions. For most Japanese, it is a challenge to learn about what is healthy responsibility.
And when we commit to the western way, it is easy to open yourself to different opinions and to underestimate introvertedness. Also it is easy to see everything in a human-centered way which is exclusive to plants and animals. For most western people, it is a challenge to learn about the earth-centered way of thinking.
The most important thing is, we need to pay attention to “my blend of the day”. When you have tea or coffee, you will have your favorite coffee bean or tea blend. And you will change it according to your mood or the seasons. Both the western way and the Japanese way are simply interesting and meaningful. And we need to cook it for the here and now. I think you need to awaken to that point more.