“Y” is for Yu Yi – the desire to feel intensely again

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki

yù yī – 玉衣 is the desire to see with fresh eyes, and feel things just as intensely as you did when you were younger—before expectations, before memory, before words.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
From Mandarin Chinese yù yī, literally “jade suit.” Some Han dynasty royals were made to wear ceremonial burial suits made of jade, stitched together in hundreds of pieces threaded together, like a suit of armor made of jade. Literally, it is to be ‘jaded’ in an attempt to protect yourself.

The Atlas Obscura includes this detail, which is useful for the metaphor: “Jade was believed to have preservative and protective qualities that would prevent the deterioration of soft tissues and keep away bad spirits. 

4 comments on ““Y” is for Yu Yi – the desire to feel intensely again

  1. Very nice narrative and images, and a great reminder to stop, smell the roses, enjoy the sunset, revel in the breeze, with each moment a new one to enjoy and savor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a gorgeous post – thank you for teaching me a word I didn’t know. Isn’t it wonderful how words reveal national cultures as well as universal aspirations? How often do we ask, “Do you remember the first time that…?” And everyone chimes in with their memory of that event, shaping our lives as well as enriching our spirits. Someplace deep within us is the yearning to return to the joy of experience before we had words to tell us what that experience was. I suspect it is at the center of all addictions as well as every motivation.
    Yu yi – I will look for it every day. This may be the nexus of meaning that helps get me through the very difficult times that lie ahead of me. Thanks, Judy. This is wonderful.


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