An engawa is an element in traditional Japanese architecture and design. The excellent book Japan Style refers to it as a characteristic intermediate space between garden and home and includes photographs that bring home this facet.

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Structure in Lake Michigan. Photo from the Hancock Center’s 95th Floor. Divi Logan.

When I took a closer look at the photographs that present the engawa there blossomed more to it than the separate pieces of the garden, the expertly – laid wood floor, the pristine glass and wood sliding doors, and the inner wall. It is a very special space, that which tells you of transition and separation from the world, from other people, from habits that you display in the outer society and those you desire to cultivate in a place free from the static and noise of business, school, and the roads.

Just as there are elements of design, art, architecture and interiors in which we live and work and receive an education and complete our travels, there are separates and yet unity in each person. Unique and dignified aspects of human behavior are present in each of us to this or that degree; no one is absolutely normal or absolutely diverse. Everyone is just that, a one, a fresh and enlightened spirit within a body within an energy field. We have old and new behaviors and practice all of these every day.

At times though we become overwhelmed with what we must learn and do, what we must say and think every day, whether at home or out in public. It is perfectly all right to take a break and ground yourself, retrieve your true self, settle down in a peaceful place for a few minutes (nap pod for instance, or just to walk outside for a while), and find your best so you can be your best. It is vital that you are your best for if you are not, then you will not be able to serve others in the manner you would like; the ideals of energy use, wisdom use, and disciplined presentation of your life skills and  knowledge will not be as you desire. Something will be missing, or lost in the static shuttle or drowned out by what others want over what you want.

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Engine Company 16, Nashville, Tennessee. The photo shows the company’s old house behind the engine and the newer garage on a sunny morning. Divi Logan.

Ultimately we live to serve, but we must learn how to serve ourselves first for just that reason: so we can be our best for those around us who need our help and our knowledge. A clear intellect is fine, a strong body is fine, being nicely dressed is fine, and being head of a team is fantastic, but we must ensure that those things we do to present our outward face are a true representation of our True Star Self. Thus the more we know about our True Star Self the better we are.

How do we find out what we are and where we are and what our Pure Self is about? Especially during the holidays and during those time we are stuck inside and cannot get out due to dangerous weather, we must find time to be our deeper selves and escape the hubbub and the rigors that so easily wear us out and drain us and depress us. It is the simple element of stepping through our individual engawa; and just as fast as that into the space of transition away from “the world” and into our self. You go into your meditation space, your quiet area, the closet or the library or the conservatory or the gazebos in the park, and each time you cross a barrier, seen or unseen but sensed, there is decision time.

Once the noise of the outer world has gone away and dissipated and the mental snow has melted, you are in control. You can take the deep breath, shed the airs and hard wiring of the world, and enter your Super Self Space. Yours can be as simple as the engawa shown in the first listed book on page 60, or as elaborate as the ceremonial display shown on pages 62 – 63. What matters is that the space is meaningful to your sensibilities and what you want to focus on.

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Ocean Meditation. Aptos, California. Divi Logan

Now you can choose; no one is there to make the choice or force you into a choice or divert your attention. Now you turn off the television, cover up the computer, turn off and stow the personal devices, close the screens and the blinds and just BE. This is the I AM moment that separates us from the rest of society. You can stand and gaze at the galaxies if your inclination is to connect to the universe; you can close your eyes and hold a black stone such as an onyx, a tourmaline or a piece of jet and sit down and focus on the grounding, settling, and earthy connective power within it. You may light incense in stick or cone form, place it on a safe surface, and enhance your space. Or you can walk about tending your plants, arranging your gems and minerals, journaling, sketching, reading, or just lying flat on a mat and placing chakra stones around your aura and sensing the moments of healing and rejuvenation.

The I AM is talking. How will you answer?

Divi Logan. Chicago, 2016.

RESOURCES

  1. Mehta, Geeta and Kimie Tada. Japan Style. Tuttle, 2005.
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