The Wabi Sabi Philosophy

Japan is most famous for their minimalist designs and lifestyles. To love the idea of ‘less is more’, to learn not to buy too much but only get what is absolutely necessary.

One of the many, famous Zen concepts is called the Wabi Sabi Philosophy, and it has nothing to do with wasabi.

There are hundreds of books about Wabi Sabi and to be honest, there is no universal definition of this beautiful concept. 

We’ll dive into the topic of how easy people fell in love with this concept and why people are applying it in their lives.



The Present Reality

There is a device we all keep close to ourselves. For most people, it’s the first thing we touch when we wake up and also the last before we go to sleep. Hundreds of research has shown how our phones, with its technology and social media have affected our lives.

It has come to a point that we become so obsessed with productivity and putting ourselves under immense pressure by comparing our lives to others. Sometimes we are overstimulated to achieve things that deep down, maybe we do not really care about.

Failure is absolute horror because we’re so embarrassed at failing. Only because we tend to be more focused about what people will think, rather than the lesson learnt from failure.

It’s unfortunate that many people’s dreams stay as dreams. Shattered, merely because they inevitably compared themselves to others who are already successful and thinking, “I’m not good enough”.

The fact is, life is full of imperfections. 



Recognising Beauty in Simplicity

“Should we look at the spring blossoms only in full flower, or the moon only when it's cloudless and clear?”
- Buddist priest Kenko

 

If we were to indulge deeper into the origins of Wabi and Sabi separately, this article will go on forever.

Wabi is about realising that recognising beauty in simplicity is a mindset. Sabi communicates tranquil beauty, refined by the elegance of time.

Together, the wabi sabi concept goes beyond the beauty of an item or a given environment. It evokes an emotional connection that comes with our past experiences.

Wabi Sabi is one’s response to accepting and appreciating the imperfections in life, to recognise that beauty can be found in any situation.

This concept teaches one to slow down from the modern day world’s obsession for perfection. Embracing the imperfections, willingness to notice details and cultivating joy even in the simplest things.



Content, Cherish & Celebrate

When we talk about decluttering, we think about the famous Marie Kondo’s “Does this spark joy in my life?” 

The idea of it is to remove things (and thank them) to make way for a more breathable and happier home. Same goes for Wabi Sabi and embracing this concept to life. To appreciate all that is simple, modest and imperfect but still we connect very deeply with. 

The exact word we are looking for is gratitude.

Why are we always yearning for something new and shiny when we have so many already in life? The fact is, we will always be. 

But this slow down, this simple shift, this new perspective of gratitude will help us feel more at peace and make it a point to see positivity and beauty in the everyday. 

To be content and cherishing the things we have should not be mistaken with giving up with what could be. Wabi Sabi is a holistic approach to still do your best but also to remind you not to make yourself ill from your relentless efforts towards your goals.

 

Wabi Sabi in Pottery

Naturally, as consumers, we tend to appreciate handcrafted products more. 

A big part of Wabi Sabi is appreciating unique imperfections and being content with it. It’s the perfect philosophy that many handcraft artists resonate with deeply because it promotes authenticity that seems to be lost in this society’s world of disposable and mass-produced goods. 

Natural, handcrafted goods have imperfections, yet most definitely made with lots of dedication and passion to create that craft. They pay close attention even to the materials that go into the process.

It’s not imperfect because they are sloppy in their work, it’s just the nature of pottery. The end product? A harmonious combination of effort, nature and details. 

Wabi Sabi in pottery is aimed at creating aesthetically pleasing products that age rustically beautiful over the years. They put in an x-factor over the functional everyday items that we use. And this allows consumers to connect deeper with the purpose behind the craft, thus appreciating it a whole lot more.


 

Less about what we see, More about HOW we see

Wabi Sabi is fundamental for us to see the beauty that has always been there. A simple shift in perspective, along with the ability to be more content with simplicity, would help individuals grow a healthier and happier mindset.

It serves as a reflection of ourselves as to what we truly need, on what really matters.

No two people have the same Wabi Sabi concept because every single one of us experience the world in different ways. So apply it with open eyes and willing hearts.

Embracing the Wabi Sabi concept will not solve the surface problems at all. What it does is to fundamentally help us see the way we see life, teaching us to be content and in a way that feels like a whole lot more.

A captivating concept that offers us to take on new perspectives. Learn more about the beautiful Wabi Sabi concept through this book:

Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life

 

 

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