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Releasing Perfection for a Better Life Through the Ancient Japanese Philosophy of Wabi-Sabi

In our world, we live fast-paced, sometimes highly stressful lives. Judgment and the desire of meeting society’s standard of perfection is something many of us may struggle with. Living by the teachings of the ancient Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi can change our perspective on life, helping us find the beauty and appreciation in imperfection.

“Even when petals have flaws, all you see is a beautiful flower.” -Adrianne Elizabeth

Wabi-Sabi is an elegant philosophy that promotes a more connected way of living. Living a lifestyle the Wabi-Sabi way, one is more connected to nature, and thus, better connected to our truest inner-selves. Wabi-Sabi allows us to search for the beauty in imperfection by accepting what is flawed, impermanent, and incomplete. Perfection is unattainable by accepting this philosophy into our lives. Impermanence becomes the elusive beauty of life.

What is Wabi?

The term, Wabi, refers to living in tune with nature, paring down to the essentials, so that each object and moment are appreciated in it’s fullness. Open your heart, appreciate simplicity, detach from materialism, and you will experience spiritual richness.

What is Sabi?

The term, Sabi, refers to the concern of the passage of time. The passage of growth, age, and decay manifests itself into the beauty of an object. Beauty lies from beneath the surfaces, underneath the cracks, imperfections, and wrinkles.

Together, Wabi-Sabi promotes the thought of, “Accept what is, stay in the present moment, and appreciate the simple impermanent stages of life.”

Freedom is found through acceptance of what is. Surrender to the gravity of the situation, giving gratitude to all that is. Nature is always changing, therefore it is not perfect, and nothing can be absolutely complete. Perfection is a state of completeness. So, why do we put our body through such shame in attempting to sculpt it to perfection, not eating enough, over exercising, or disregarding the importance of nourishment? The attempt to achieve a perfect body is just one blurring out the understanding of what perfection truly is. The desire of looking younger is very popular as well with the usage of many different anti-aging products. What’s forgotten about is ageing with the passage of time is beauty itself. With imperfection, we should not compromise it, we need to accept the imperfections because that is the true nature of life. Just as nature is, life is fragile and temporary, so allow yourself to accept what is and find the love in the imperfections.

In Japan, broken objects are repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty. When you are feeling broken, remember this. 

“Put simply, Wabi-Sabi gives you permission to be yourself. It encourages you to do your best but not make yourself ill in pursuit of an unattainable goal of perfection. It gently motions you to relax, slow down and enjoy your life. And it shows you that beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places, making every day a doorway to delight.” -Beth Kempton

Resources: 

Itani, O. (2021, April 24). 5 teachings from the Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy that can drastically improve your life. OMAR ITANI. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.omaritani.com/blog/wabi-sabi-philosophy-teachings.

Jobson, C. (2017, October 19). Kintsugi: The art of broken pieces. Colossal. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/05/kintsugi-the-art-of-broken-pieces/.

Shaireproductions.com. (2012, September 27). Imperfect flower. Flickr. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaireproductions/8030295044.

Walther, A. (2021, January 14). What is Wabi Sabi? the elusive beauty of imperfection. Japan Objects. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://japanobjects.com/features/wabi-sabi.

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