“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.”
MORE IDEAS FROM 5 Teachings From The Japanese Wabi-Sabi Philosophy That Can Drastically Improve Your Life — OMAR ITANI
Most people hit total burnout because they were moving too fast and never slowed down to carve out the mental and emotional space to realise their self-sabotaging behaviour.
Everything in nature is always changing, and nothing is ever be absolutely complete.
And since perfection is a state of completeness, then nothing can ever be perfect.
Hence, the wabi-sabi philosophy teaches us that all things, including us and life itself, are impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect.
In our pursuit to seek the perfect life, career, partner etc, we have blurred our understanding of what perfection really is.
Together, these two create the philosopical approach-
Accept what is, stay in the present moment, and appreciate the simple, transient stages of life.
Wabi-sabi is an elegant philosophy that denotes a more connected way of living—a lifestyle, where we are deeply connected to nature, and thus, better helps us to connect to our truest inner-selves.
Wabi-sabi is a concept that motions us to constantly search for the beauty in imperfection and accept the more natural cycle of life.
It is an elegant reminder that all things including us and life itself, are impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect. Perfection, then, is impossible and impermanence is the only way.
Our obsession with seeking happiness has blinded us to what happiness actually is: An emotion.
On a 17th-century tsukubai (water basin) stone at the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, there’s an ancient inscription - "ware tada taru wo shiru,” which means “I only know contentment.”
To be content with what you have and where you are is to be grateful. To be content with what you have and where you are, while working toward what you want, and fully trusting that you can achieve it, is to be intentional. And through gratitude, intention, and action, you find happiness.
This stems from an ancient Japanese art to mend broken objects with gold fillings, giving them “golden scars.” It’s known as Kintsugi.
Think of a bowl or teapot dropped onto the floor. What would you do with it? Probably throw them away.
But Kintsugi tells you to mend the pieces of broken pottery back together with liquid gold ~making them inevitably flawed, but somehow, more beautiful~
Kintsugi reminds us that there is great beauty in broken things because scars tell a story.
They demonstrate fortitude, wisdom, and resilience, earned through the passage of time.
The core philosophy relates to one word, Uketamo , which means "I humbly accept with an open heart."
Here’s how it works:
~Uketamo means acceptance to the core~
The sooner you can accept all the good and bad things life throws at you, the easier it is to grow.
Mottainai (Too good to waste) is an ancient Buddhist term that translates into having respect for the resources available and to use them with a sense of gratitude.
The respect practice stems from the Shinto belief that objects have souls and therefore should not be discarded.
We don't expect other people to be perfect but appreciate when people show their vulnerabilities and admit errors. Yet, we're afraid to expose our own shortcomings.
This is known as "the beautiful mess effect." We see other people's honesty about their flaws as positive, and our own as problematic. Other people's flaws function more like an instructive tale as the distance gives us perspective.
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