where green living, parenthood, and interiors intersect

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Infinite Bliss

Although I'm not a practicing Buddhist myself, I have always been inspired by the religion's wisdoms, practices and symbols. And now, apparently, so is the home decor industry. One common Buddhist symbol - and also my favorite - known as the Endless Knot, Eternal Knot, or Infinity Knot is popping up on everything from bed sheets to wallpaper, enforcing the idea that everything is indeed connected.

"The endless knot (Skt. shrivatsa; Tib. dpal be'u) is a closed, graphic ornament composed of right-angled, intertwined lines. It overlaps without a beginning or an end, symbolising the Buddha's endless wisdom and compassion. It indicates continuity as the underlying reality of existence. It is conjectured that it may have evolved from an ancient naga symbol with two stylized snakes

The intertwining of lines represents how all phenomena are conjoined and yoked together as a closed cycle of cause and effect. Thus the whole composition is a pattern that is closed on in itself with no gaps, leading to a representational form of great simplicity and fully balanced harmony." (excerpt from www.religionfacts.com)

To bring harmony into your home, check out a few of my favorite interior treasures that feature this poignant symbolism:

A Madeline Weinrib cotton rug in a pale celedon holds a special place in the front room of my Long Beach cottage, giving me a daily visual reminder of the universal interconnectedness that the Infinity Knot represents. It came in a rainbow of colors for a modern twist on the ancient imagery, but unfortunately appears to be discontinued (glad I got mine when I did!).

Even though I purged most of my jewelry in recent years, the simplicity of the turqoise and silver pendant above has given it a high-ranking spot on my birthday wish list.

The raw patina of hand-crafted copper medicine plates in 8", 10" or 14" squares is an appropriate medium for enduring Buddhist wisdom.

The printed grasscloth above from Stark Wallcoverings (available through designers) marries the beautiful raw texture of natural grasses and the geometric lines of the symbol. This paper could adorn four walls or perhaps just the back surface of an open shelf.

The classic embroidery of Serena & Lily's new Gobi sheeting collection is an elegant representation of the Knot.

Years before getting a tattoo of my son's name, the only other body art I've ever considered was an ethereal representation of this very symbol. My eventual rug purchase was much less painful and far more representative of the simple ways I like to bring spirituality into my home decor, but no less reverent of the truth embodied by the Infinity Knot. Next, I want the necklace and the sheets. Understanding that the very concept of desire is anti-Buddhist, I guess I'll have to work on that in another life!