When you look up the word “vitality” in the dictionary, you’ll find the following definition: “the state of being strong and active”. If there was a picture next to this definition, it could very well be a portrait of Bruno Sitton. Born in Rotterdam but now living in Amsterdam, Bruno initially worked as a model, walking for the likes of Bottega Veneta, Moncler and Thom Browne, living the exciting and hedonistic life of a young talent on the road. However, a chance encounter with a monk who showed him a zen dojo opened Bruno up to alternate ways of living. Now he still models, but is also a teacher, thinker and practitioner who wants to set a shining example for how others can lead their lives with greater vitality.
A lot of people are just moving their brain from A to B, but most of the moments that we feel most alive are the moments when we aren’t thinking.
When Bruno talks about his lifestyle, “vitality” is a word that returns again and again. You can see how he embraces this concept throughout his day to day as he smiles with a beaming energy and talks about how he stays busy, active and healthy, while maintaining a curious, open mind toward whatever life throws at him. It’s a very modern take on wellness, one that has space and time for all sorts of endeavors that bring energy and joy into life — as well as his practice of Zen, Bruno also lives a vital life through his embracing of the Chinese tea ceremony, sound healing and sound therapy, and jazz trumpet. But what Sittin emphasizes throughout our talk is the importance of being present in the moment — maintaining a calm and relaxed awareness so that you can embrace whatever life throws at you, whether it’s leading a group meditation at a fashion event or conducting your very own tea ceremony at your designated Zen corner, something that Bruno has adopted in his own home.
I think it comes down to this: do I jump out of bed in the morning, am I ready for the day and am I smiling? Am I feeling vibrant and vital enough to take on what is in front of me so I can stay present with anything that’s coming towards me?
So from that perspective I have a lot of rituals established within my own life. Some that are every day and some that are emergency rituals, Like, okay, I sense this, let’s do this or okay, I’m in this place, let’s go there.
The Chinese tea ceremony, my practice of Zaza. Then I would say the sound healing tradition, and I have a lot of tiny traditions that I take from different places. For instance, a lot of traditions within the yogic lifestyle, like Ekadashi, which is two days of fasting on the 11th day of the moon, just to reset your body every month.
There’s a quote that says, it’s ordinary to see something extraordinary as extraordinary, but it’s actually extraordinary to see something ordinary as extraordinary. For example, I’m drinking a really nice tea right now from 1997, so it’s of course special, it’s kind of extraordinary, but still, it’s hot water with leaves. And whenever you create moments around a simple bowl of tea and you sit down and have it in such a sacred way, you create a special moment in space and time.
These moments are very necessary for anyone running from A to B. I’m busy myself as well. I’m young and I love to party, I love to have a wine sometimes, I’m just a guy like everybody else, but what I try to do for the people around me in my community and every extended version of that, eventually I hope the world, I try to bring these tiny innovations on these traditions to fit them for our lifestyles. Like for example, yesterday I did a PR event for a community-based brand from Amsterdam in their store, but not your regular event. I came in for 15 minutes of meditation revolving around an organic linen pair of trousers, but it was on like the busiest street in Amsterdam and it was so interesting. Everyone was saying that as soon as we started they couldn’t hear the cars beeping, they couldn’t hear the bikes, they couldn’t hear the people talking. It made us conscious and aware of our physical bodies, our ears and our senses. That’s the power of these moments in time.
Everyone’s stressed, right? I think everything in moderation, like do your thing, live your life, I’m not a person that likes to say that this or that is unhealthy — figure it out for yourself — but this way of always being being occupied in your mind, always having something in the back of your mind without clearing it, I think that’s very unhealthy.
It’s this way of running through time, running running running, but never taking a moment to reflect and take a look at the gratitude within that. That I think is a very unhealthy approach towards life. Practices like Zen and Kundalini can help with this, because they help you detach, they help you find moments and create moments. For instance, I’m sitting in my zen room. I created this moment, this place that I can always go to, but they can just be a corner in a house.
Yeah, yeah, definitely. A lot of people are just moving their brain from A to B, but most of the moments that we feel most alive are the moments when we aren’t thinking, when we are just doing, dancing, talking, when we’re just in a moment. Being in this flow state is healthy.