Notes For Creators

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Wabi Sabi: Beauty in the imperfect



Wabi Sabi is a Japanese philosophy that finds compelling beauty in the imperfect and the impermanent.

The book Living Wabi Sabi is ostensibly about when the author was a 14-year-old American boy, visiting his Japanese grandmother for the summer. His father had just died. 

The book is also a meditation on this exquisite philosophy of simplicity and acceptance. His grandmother speaks to him of Wabi Sabi . . . and now many years later, Taro Gold conveys it to us . . . .

Wabi Sabi encourages balance  throughout every aspect of life. 

Our spiritual experiences are Wabi . . . 

The material aspects of our lives are Sabi.

 . . . . .

Wabi Sabi celebrates the beauty and allure of imperfection: the cozy familiarity of a worn-out pair of jeans, the rustic elegance of an old Italian villa, the faded splendor of well-used china handed down from your grandmother’s attic.

. . . . . 

In the narrow view, Wabi Sabi fosters a bohemian sense of beauty that celebrates the basic, the unique, and the imperfect. In the wider sense, Wabi Sabi is a worldview that supports ecocentric living and compassionate humanism.

. . . .  

When we cherish ourselves as we are, we accept other people and things as they are. We come to show more compassion, patience, and thoughtfulness. We bring more humor and lightness to any situaion. When we broaden our attitude to embrace everything as perfectly imperfect, we begin to see more clearly what’s truly important to us, and we increase our joy of living.

In my life, I’ve visited orphans in the slums of India and idled with superstars in French palaces. I’m not going to pretend that Paris isn’t more fun than Calcutta. But what my experiences have proven to me is that he trappings of a so-called perfect life money, fame, status, and so on do not make you happy. You make you happy.

Material wealth can be useful, even pleasant, but it is irrelevant to joy. 

. . . . .

The desperately poor children I met in Calcutta are living proof of the unshakable nature of joy. The only homes they had ever known were the filthy streets of the city. In hundred-degree heat, they played on rotting piles of garbage as gleefully as if they were in paradise. They could hardly scrounge enough for themselves to survive, yet they kept a small dog as their beloved pet, sharing with her what tidbits they had, teetering on the edge of life together, smiling all the way. Those children radiated more spontaneous joy than most people I know who live in sprawling luxury. 

. . . . . 

I see how very Wabi Sabi I had been as a child, blissfully singing off-key, happily running and bumping into things, mispronouncing words with gusto, and drawing outside the lines just because I could. 

. . . . .  

Few of us are taught to use imperfections for our betterment, to seek the hidden lesson that every difficulty holds, to be proud of our uniqueness. 

. . . . . 

Contentment begins with acceptance.

. . . . .

For you 

Evan Griffith
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