Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wabi Sabi - The art of Imperfection

I first heard about Wabi Sabi a few weeks ago while perusing one of my wellness magazines. A simple translation of what it means from Wikipedia:

Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent and incomplete". It is a concept derived from the Buddhist assertion of the Three marks of existence, specifically impermanence.
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, modesty, intimacy and the suggestion of natural processes.

I look at my favourite mug, and I see wabi sabi. It is chipped and cracked and the logo is peeling off, but it is that way because I have used it so many times. It is the favourite pair of jeans that will someday fall into rags. The flower that lost a petal in a strong wind. It is the lines on your face. The crooked tooth. The grey streak in your hair.

Why is it so difficult to accept transience in our life? Everything since birth is changing and we can't stop it. Aging is just one more thing. Losing youth is one more impermanent fact of life. It is also incomplete, in that it is one small stage of our existence. When we accept that change is inevitable and everything is impermanent, we can become liberated. We no longer need to hang on to the physical trappings of this world.

As much as aging scares the hell out of me, I also look forward to getting older. I fear the lost youth but I am excited for the gained wisdom. It is a trade off.

Can you see wabi sabi in you? Your perfect imperfection? Can you see how it makes you unique? How your flaws make you beautiful?

If you will, write a list of your perceived flaws, and think about how they make you different/unique/special. Find the beauty in them, the wabi sabi.

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent post and what great sounding words Wabi-sabi.
    I am glad you realise the trade off for growing old far outweighs lost youth.
    Gaining wisdom rocks!!!
    Pegs xxxxx


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