January 22, 2024

Komorebi - The Tree-Leaking-Through-Light


Japanese has an exquisite word to describe sunlight filtering through trees: komorebi. Unfortunately, no comparable English term exists - although we might get close using words such as "dappled light" and "crepuscular rays." Perhaps not having such a word helps preserve its essence by keeping us focused on aesthetic appreciation rather than taxonomic analysis.

Mu is the first Kanji of "Komorebi", meaning tree or forest, while Lou stands for escape or relief from daily stressors, and finally ReRi, standing for sunlight or the sun - meaning when combined komorebi can be translated as "Tree-Leakage-through-Light."

Komorebi can have more than just visual pleasure; it also has emotional and psychological ramifications. It serves as a reminder to seek positivity even during times of darkness or anxiety - this idea forms an integral part of Japanese culture, specifically their philosophy known as Ikigai or "the purpose for being". Described by Ken Mogi as "la raison d'etre" or the 'purpose for being' it emphasizes mindfulness while finding joy in small details of daily life.

Even if nature is unavailable to you, incorporating komorebi into your daily life is still achievable. Simply find an area with plenty of trees, sit down comfortably and observe how light and shadow interact - this activity has been shown to lower cortisol levels while simultaneously decreasing stress and anxiety levels for greater serenity and mental clarity.

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