Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nothing is perfect--wabi sabi


Almost everyone has heard of feng shui by now—the Chinese art of placement to create optimal energy flow. We even practice it somewhat in our little hut here.

The other day, though, I think I learned about my personal philosophy—wabi sabi. It’s not Chinese, but Japanese.

It is also a school of thought of what is beautiful—but the object or whatever is being considered brings about a sense of serene melancholy and longing. The longing for the perfect, the even better.

Wabi sabi instead recognizes reality—nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect.

Carried within it is a sense of the unfinished, the raw, the what-it-is. The words sort of mean apologetic rust.

Your mate, child, house, job, yourself, your health, the economy, the world, everything is wabi sabi.

This is the first time I saw a name for it.

I remember back when I did more publications work. If we found a mistake (always when it was too late to fix it), I would say, “Japanese potters always leave a small imperfection so the soul of a pot can escape.”

I knew wabi sabi—I just didn’t have the lingo.

The tree in the picture? My yard. It's dead. Shortly after, it was cut down. But it had a certain beauty in that shot, didn't it?

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