Wabi-sabi comprehends Japanese aesthetic, surrounding the acceptance of transience, impermanence, and imperfection. We see this concept embodied in Japanese construction (zen gardens, tea houses) and the arts (Ikebana/flower arrangement, tea ceremony, Hagi ware/pottery). Wabi-sabi originates from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence: 1) Impermanence; 2) Suffering; and 3) Emptiness or absence of self-nature.
Wabi: Original meaning was the loneliness of living in nature, being remote from the rest of society. Today, wabi refers to rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and the beauty in human-error during construction of objects.
Sabi: Used to mean chill, lean or withered. Now sabi also encompasses the beauty or serenity that comes with age, as the object displays wear and tear.
The beauty in our world is derived from imperfection and impermanence.
We can find celebration in each day as we gracefully observe our physical bodies move through their life cycles. Let us embrace the progression of aging, and find the sweetness, stillness, and surprise in letting go. Our relationships, too, both with ourselves and with others, are impermanent, and it is surrender that saves us from the pain we feel from attachment. There is much to learn in aloneness. It’s about being gentle with our souls and recognizing the simplicity in our purpose for being on Earth’s plane.
Look around you, in this exact moment, and
breathe in the absolute beauty found in the thousands of imperfections.
I see artwork of trees bathed in sunlight framed by the windows, the gentle billowing of a curtain though a sliding door opened part way, and the mosaic of indentations of paw prints from my cat on the beige carpet. None of these forms have mathematical formulas, yet there is a precision and a knowing in their imperfections. It is about finding form in the unformed.