How are you? How are the things you do and the thoughts you think? How are your home, your friends, and your family? How is your life?
In our lives, moments fracture into tiny pieces that we cannot just pick up and put back together. We're forced to see the situation's complete imperfection. In a sleek, societal culture that's obsessed with the incessant need to attain perfection, this can be our spiritual downfall. It's almost easier to fight and suffer than it is to accept things for what they are.
When things get tough, we can take root in a mindful concept: wabi-sabi. This Japanese philosophy is a non-physical feeling, a way of being, an acceptance of the imperfect circle of life—and an appreciation for both growth and decay. Here's how to cultivate the wabi-sabi way of life.
Savor the Present
Words are just different ways to label something that's familiar, but what's unique about the phrase of wabi-sabi is that it's entirely untranslatable. Even within traditional Japanese culture, it's not clearly definable. In actuality, its age-old nuances merely invite us to change our perceptions about the way we participate in life. We must learn to be content and let go of yearning.
Wabi connotates deeply with humbleness, nature, simplicity, and freshness. This is a core aesthetic concept intermingled into the rise of the Japandi style. To have a wabi mind and heart is to know peace: in other words, it is what it is. We are all transient beings on this Earth. Sabi conveys the acceptance of impermanence and savoring each brusque, breathing moment. The passage of time is an inevitable flux between what's euphoric and what's melancholic.
Redefine Beauty In and Around You
Aspects of this deep, cultural concept illuminate the unnaturalness of remaining stagnant throughout the seasons of life. Wabi-sabi frames nature as a static source of beauty throughout ceaseless change. If we look to the natural world, we can take ourselves away from societal expectations and embrace the beauty that comes with age, which is utterly imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
Wabi-sabi is the antithesis to the Western ideology praising the allure of all things flawless, complete, and enduring. Instead, we should wholly celebrate and appreciate visible cracks, crevices, scars, scuffs, and marks of time, rather than covering them up. When you expand your gaze to the things not normally seen, you'll notice the beauty in everything around you.
Seize Your Individual Story
Each person on the planet shares a duality: collective humanity that is also fiercely individual. Reflecting on your own personal narrative is how to cultivate the wabi-sabi way of life today. The paths you've traveled, all the highs and lows of the journey, and all the moments of metamorphosis have brought you here—they've brought you to this moment. There's value in each experience.
Now, let's ask once again: How are you? How are the thoughts that you think? How is your life?