Wabi Sabi is the name used to represent the Japanese “Zen” viewpoint on the acceptance of the transformation of all things, including the flaws within beauty and the wisdom of natural simplicity that shifts over time. The mind set is to find beauty and perfection within imperfection. It honors asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity and the integrity of natural objects and processes as they age as well as the shifts in the human body that take place over a lifetime. It involves the acceptance of the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death.
The concept of Wabi Sabi nurtures all that is authentic. It acknowledges three simple realities: 1) nothing lasts, 2) nothing is finished, and 3) nothing is perfect. What would the world be like if we were self-accepting and honored these simple truths? Instead we struggle with the effects of time and the beauty of the wisdom of age by replacing old objects with new and trying to alter our bodies. The concept of Wabi Sabi encourages us to be respectful of age, both in things and in ourselves. It teaches us to be content with what we have rather than always striving for more. Too many people live in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction, which prevents us from fully living. Wabi Sabi doesn’t mean settling for less than you deserve and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to improve your situation. Instead it’s about balance and contentment rather than striving for the unattainable. It encourages us to accept our own flaws as well as our wisdom and gifts.
The word “Wabi” refers to rustic simplicity, harmony, peace, tranquility, and balance. It can be applied to nature, man-made objects and the human body. It refers to a life style of being humble and satisfied with the simple things in life. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction in an object, which adds uniqueness and elegance. It is a concept of seeing value in the many differences in cultures, appearances and lifestyles.
The word “Sabi” means the beauty or serenity that comes with age or the bloom of time. When the life of an object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs. It involves the understanding that beauty is fleeting. It is the lines of wisdom that appear on our faces as we age and the ability to do so naturally with dignity and grace.
Understanding Wabi Sabi is seen as the first step to enlightenment or “Satori. It is a way of living life through the senses and finding fascination in differences, instead of fault and judgment. It is a concept of engaging in life as it happens, rather than being caught up in unnecessary thoughts. When you open up to being surrounded by simple, natural, changing, unique objects, people and experiences it is a vehicle to connect to the real world and escape the potentially stressful distractions of everyday life.