In case you’ve wondered, Yugen Finity isn’t my real name. It’s my aspiration.
The Urban Dictionary says yugen “is at the core of the appreciation of beauty and art in Japan. It values the power to evoke, rather than the ability to state directly. The principle of yugen shows that real beauty exists when, through its suggestiveness, only a few words, or few brush strokes, can suggest what has not been said or shown, and hence awaken many inner thoughts and feelings.” As lovely as this definition is, it’s not what the word “yugen” means to me.
I first heard the word in college. A class required that I work with a couple classmates to create an artistic expression based on the Asian concept of beauty. I teamed up with Lani and Amy and, through getting to know each other a bit, we discovered we all liked to write and play music. We decided we’d form a trio and create a piece of emotionally evocative music for the project. We needed to give our band a name. Lani suggested “Yugen” and told Amy and me it meant “intense potentiality.” We all loved the name, and thus, “Yugen” was born. Amy and I played guitar and Lani played percussion. We all sang. We wrote a song, played it for the class, and aced it. Over the next two semesters, we performed several original songs at numerous area venues. As life goes, we lost touch with each other after college. But 25 years later, “yugen” – intense potentiality – remains my aspiration.
You still might wonder why I don’t just use my real name. I can only say that there’s an outer part of me and an inner part. I devote the outer part to the connections I make in my personal and professional life. Some of these connections are deep and meaningful, and others are superficial but nonetheless important. This is life. It’s survival. It’s community. This is the part that my real name belongs to.
Then there’s the inner part. The part that goes on for eternity within me. This is the sacred. The precious. The Infinite Potential. Here resides the expectation that what my creations express can’t be fully understood on a conscious level, even by me. Here resides the hope that the viewer and I will connect on the universal plane of love’s intense potential. This is the part of me that is Yugen Finity.
Yugen and Infinity = Yuginfinity = Yugen Finity.