In the world of Wabi Sabi, there is no perfect or imperct.
WABI SABI, the Japanese word has been now widely introduced to the west as the word to describe Japanese aesthetics, finding beauty in imperfection.
However, in the world of WABI SABI, there is no perfect nor imperfect. The beauty is not in the outer world, it is born from our inner world. The beauty of WABI SABI is in our state of being. With inner peace, we can see and feel things as they are without any judgment, without any prejudice.
First and foremost, in the world of Wabi Sabi, there is no perfect or imperfect, no past or future, there is no duality.
Following my introduction on a Dutch TV documentary, Iedereen Verlicht on 10 Nov (full program from this link), here in this article I explain a bit more and explain how we can apply Wabi Sabi in our daily life.
The word WABI SABI originates from the verbs, WABU and SABU which were used in the classical Japanese poems of the 8th century.
WABU (詫ぶ）describes the experience of our inner world, the feeling of refinement in sober, quietness, solitude, nostalgy and apologies.
SABU (寂ぶ）is the experience of our outer world such as fading of light, colour, having its character as it gets older.
In the 16th century, when the tea ceremony Way of Tea, “Wabi Cha” was formulated by Sen Norikyu, the Wabi Sabi aesthetic was introduced. It was a spiritual discipline to create inner peace, silence, stillness to immerse ourselves into the beauty of quietness, stillness, and emptiness where our heart is not disturbed from any stimuli. And in that state, we can transcend to the multidimensional of the universe and we become no one and nothing and become the pure essence, one, as in the Zen circle.
The beauty of Wabi Sabi is born from experiencing and feeling, from our inner world.
To see the things, situations without any “lenses” of our pre-installed judgment, prejudice, and perception.
These “lenses" come from the influences of our outer world, socio-cultural values, family values and our thoughts about what others (friends and colleagues) perceive or react.
“The lenses” filter and distort the truth.
The examples of Wabi Sabi
In the eyes of Van Gogh...
Van Gogh’s quotes “He studies a single blade of grass."
What he means here is profound. My interpretation is that as this wise man observes a single blade of grass, his mind becomes quiet, still and silent. In a state of peace, with an empty mind, a wise man will see the truth and feel its beauty in his heart at that very moment.
This grass would be floating as the wind blow. It may be shining and giving vibrant energy among the spring light. Or maybe in autumn, he is seeing the beauty in fading colours.
It gives a different feeling every moment, every day, every season. As we “study” in Van Gogh’s word, we become one with nature, the universe, which brings its unique beauty and serenity of each moment.
Be with inner peace to feel the beauty from inside.
Accepting and healing....
KINTSUGI is an ancient Japanese art form of mending broken ceramics with lacquer, dusted with gold, or silver.
A broken object gets revived and transformed with shining gold on the path it has walked through. The object becomes the only one in the world, only one in history.
When we accept the fact of what happened without judgments and blames, when the journey of healing starts and the celebration of beauty starts.
Fading colours, aging....
Wabi Sabi is something that is alive and has a space to emerge. For example, the ambiguous rustic colour or fading moments are difficult to give the name and definition.
They give the feeling of infinity and transience.
If we observe flowers, not only when it is in full bloom, but also in the later stage, we can feel the beauty in that state.
Another example is Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing in Japan in spring, how we, the Japanese, love and watching the Sakura petals falling from the trees. To be in the moment and feel the beauty in transience moment.
It applies to us, the human being. When we are aging, our experience and the footprints of our life shine through from inside. If we get rid of the perception of how beauty should be, we can celebrate so much beauty in life.
An example in our modern life
A person may choose to buy the jeans with a hole as it is a fashion trend and considered to be cool.
The same person has a pair of jeans which he loved but got torn and has a hole, (like the designed jeans he purchased) but as it did not happen as design, he may throw it away. Although he still loves it, he would be afraid of what others say or perceive him wearing these jeans.
The truth of a hole in the jeans is seen with the lenses of this person, it can be a design, or it can be a defect.
He may keep these broken jeans as he truly cherishes it. He would fix it with compassion and gratitude and wear it celebrating this broken part as a memory of his journey. Not afraid of what others think, or says, as he is in sync with his essence.
In this way, his feeing and thoughts are in harmony. He is not filtering his feeling. It is coming from his heart, in a peaceful state of being.
A gentle invitation....
Wabi Sabi philosophy is never forceful and you do not need to apply this to everything in life, nor you do not need to be living “Wabi Sabi” way if it doesn’t resonate with you.
Wabi Sabi philosophy is a gentle invitation to a gentle way of living.
The beauty is our state of being, within our heart, in the silence, stillness
When we are with inner-peace, inner-emptiness, we will encounter the beauty, blissfulness no matter where we are in life, even in the midst of a storm, even a raindrop can be a beauty.
The beauty of Wabi Sabi is born from our inner world.
In this quiet peaceful space within, we witness all the emotions passing by, like the clouds pass by in the sky.
In the space of acceptance,
where there is no judgment.
There is no perfection or imperfection
There is no past or future.
There is no right or wrong
In the space of now, we hold nothing.
Just pure self, our essence,
everything is as it is.
beauty in the silence, in the stillness.
where the truth is.
We can practice creating more moments of inner peace and space in your mind where we see things from our true selves and see the truth.
How can we create inner peace to welcome the beauty of Wabi Sabi?
"Be in the moment in the stillness, silence, empty our mind. Connect to your outer world, see, hear and feel without any judgment."
Well, it is easy to be said. I suggest practicing until it becomes your habit!
Here are the simple 4 steps.
1 ) Detect your mind having “chats" in your head, and stop this inner chats.
2) As you train your minds to stop talking, you will feel the quietness, silence, and space.
3) You will be in the very present moment and you will feel merging with your outer world.
4) You will start seeing hearing and smelling without any judgment. Like the water flows from the fountains, you will slowly start feeling the beauty at the moment you are in.
This is when the beauty is felt in our heart at the moment, in the stillness.
Embrace your feeling, perhaps even the sound raindrop, autumn leaves falling from the tree gives you a profound feeling, a blissful moment.
Not in the past,
Not in the future,
At this very moment,
in the silence,
We are safe to feel and connect,
This is when the beauty of Wabi Sabi is born.