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Thoughts

Loving the journey of imperfection

by

David Frank Gomes

August 15, 2022

4 min read

September 23, 2022

What is Wabi-Sabi?

The topic is timeless. It has no Gurus or teacher and is based on the wisdom of nature itself. If you want to access the truth of Wabi Sabi, you need to stay within these three principles:

  • Nothing lasts forever.
  • Nothing is perfect.
  • Nothing is ever finished.

We might look at it as “imperfect beauty.” The concept has its roots in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and is sometimes explained by using the example of a well-loved teacup made by an artist’s hands, cracked or chipped by use. Such traces remind the observer that nothing is permanent — even seemingly fixed objects are subject to change. The classical Greek ideal of beauty, which informs much of the Western physical aesthetic, celebrates smooth, symmetrical perfection.

We always have some perfect notion of what we should all look like or how our lives should be. We are never enough or not the kind of enough that is currently in vogue. Wabi Sabi, however, is very different - it prizes authenticity above all. The cracks in the old teacup are seen as assets rather than flaws. Wabi-sabi is a different kind of looking, a different way of being and seeing. It’s the true acceptance of finding beauty in things as they are.

In you, as you are, and in life, as it is. In the trip you are having, not the one you think you should be having.

And in that “resting in acceptance,” you can create whatever is in your heart.

Living Wabi-Sabi on our journey

Wabi might be best thought of as a sense of voluntary simplicity. Wabi stands for everything we wish for that cannot be bought with money. Wabi makes us embrace a different relationship with life’s worries, with illness and aging, and with life’s inevitable changes. We see it as part of the natural way of things and stop resisting it since we know nothing lasts forever, nothing is perfect, and nothing is ever finished.

The word Sabi could be described as how things blossom or mature and how a thing will age or become itself with time. It could be a table, a flower, a building, or yourself.

Sabi can be thought of as a state of receptivity. Sabi makes us receptive. This is, in a sense, its great medicinal value.We go off to a special ceremony or a place we love and have a sacred experience and feel a deep longing and sadness that this beautiful moment is coming to an end. Then perhaps we might smile and look up at the stars coming out, feel a powerful connection with the night sky, and wonder at the infinite nature of the universe and all things large and small in it. At that moment, we open, relax and settle. We reach a certain kind of peace and become receptive to the moment just as it is.

Sabi is resting in what is. Shadows, light, and everything else in between.

So I encourage you to take a breath and rest in this moment.

It is enough.

You are enough.

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