Two white vessels

What is Wabi Sabi and How Could it Change Your Life?

Learning what is wabi sabi can help you see life from a different perspective. This is a term which has a wide meaning, sometimes making it difficult for us to understand it. The most important aspect of it is that it has to do with imperfection and something that is incomplete. Furthermore, it has to do with non-conventional beauty or the beauty of modest things.

This Japanese term relies on appreciating the empty half of the glass, the other side of the world which is not defined as beautiful by the common eye. That part of the world is usually excluded from our aesthetic perception. Wabi sabi can help people change their relationship with events or objects in their life. The first word of the term, wabi, means the paradoxical beauty determined by the imperfection of things.

The second word, sabi, is related to the type of beauty that comes with age. When the two word combine, the term stresses a particular aesthetic principle. Basically, this term illustrates the opposite of people’s general idea of beauty. If we do not apply aesthetic principles to art or life, they remain abstract. Wabi sabi represents an ancient aesthetic philosophy which has its roots in Zen Buddhism. It is connected to the tea ceremony.

What is wabi sabi

The ceremony represented a ritual of simplicity of purity when masters praised the handmade, irregularly shaped bowls. They were able to see beauty in their imperfections. This philosophy celebrates beauty in flaws. If we were to appreciate the cracks and drips in your lives, just like in those bowls, we would be a lot happier.

You can find wabi sabi in handmade pottery, asymmetrical heirloom vegetables, the frayed sleeves of your favorite sweater, crow’s feet and the first draft of a letter. A thing is clear: Wabi sabi does not exist in glass-and-steel skyscrapers, Botox, or perfect eyeliner. Wabi sabi praises the beauty that hides right in front of our eyes, simplicity animated through living.

A blue wall and some unpainted bricks

By learning what is wabi sabi, we actually learn to appreciate imperfection and stop searching for perfect things.

Instead of searching for perfection, we should try to discover the beauty that lies in front of our eyes. Everything we touch is unique in its way even if it is not perfect. The textures, shapes, and colors of an object is what makes it different and, therefore, somehow beautiful. Simplicity is another type of beautiful we sometimes forget to appreciate, running after what is shiny or extraordinary.

If we accept the world as being transient, unfinished, and imperfect and we nurture the ability to celebrate that reality as it is, then we will free. The lines under your eyes, the childhood scars you wear, your fingerprints are exactly what makes you unique and at the same time beautiful.

Summing up

Something does not need to be perfect in order to be beautiful. Learning what is wabi sabi relies on learning to appreciate imperfection and see beauty in the simplest things. Some may say that only artists are able to understand wabi sabi in its essence. The common eye might see beauty only in the most exquisite and close-to-perfect objects.

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