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The Peace Gained From Shohin-Bonsai

Text, and photos by Morten Albek, Denmark
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Bonsai is 'moving mediation', someone has said. And this can in some sense hold some truth. Although the practice of meditation is very much with focus into yourself with the purpose of bringing the ego on distance, and the art of Bonsai is with all the focus on the tree in the pot. Bonsai is thereby an indirect form of meditation, because all focus is put into the tree, and thereby the ego of human is diminished.

The concentrated work with the tree will also gain peace in mind. The art of raising a bonsai is much more than just taking care of a tree in a pot. It is cultivating the inner spirit of the tree. You are the caretaker who creates the everyday relationship with the tree, accompanied with the natural elements: the rain, frost, wind and the drought.

The elements of weather are influencing the growing of a tree in the wild. And these "element effects" on the tree have to be reflected in the tree in the pot. When forming a Bonsai, one has to express the living conditions and the influence by weather i.e. in the tree.

By observing and recreating the results of nature in your tree, you are brought closer to both tree and nature.

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The time consuming observations, and the study of both bonsai and nature, will bring peace of mind. A Shohin-bonsai can be taken into your hand and studied closely. You can sit in your Bonsai garden or you can easily bring the tree into the house to observe it.

Peace is found by observing the tree. It can be the study of the movement of the trunk, the fine ramification of branches, and the fine leaves i.e., that may be studied in order to decide the future development. Or maybe it is the rough Potensai (pre bonsai) that needs the focus of a future shaping of the tree. The trimming of needles, the branch structure and the daily watering also brings peace in mind. All together a helpful tool to bring the stress from daily life on distance for a while.

A bonsai is never a finished tree but a continual cultivation. Peace is gained trough the ongoing process with this newer finished product, that is an ongoing and enrichening experience.

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