why use wabi sabi?
Bringing wabi sabi into my life resulted in subtle changes to the way I reacted to the world around me. With a similar influence you might find you see things that once irritated you in a new light, you may find that there is more to the parts of life that once seemed mundane, you could discover greater patience and acceptance with other people. It is impossible to predict how you will react but I have found a gradual shift in my perception of myself and everything around me. There seems to be a little more time, I look for greater quality in every experience, I want to explore and enjoy deeper experiences. I would like to think I treat people with greater compassion, that I am more accepting and understanding. As a result my relationships have evolved to a new level.
One of the benefits of Zen thinking is that it takes power away from the kind of beliefs, ideologies, doctrines or concepts that often get imposed upon us and allows us to take back control of those areas of our life. Living in a wabi sabi home reinforces the idea that there are no rules, that it is all inside us. Cultivating a Wabi Sabi attitude develops inner strength, greater self-reliance and an independence of thought. The Zen personality stands out as his or her own person who does not get blown in every direction by trends, gossip, fashion or other people’s theories.
The main point of wabi sabi is to make more of your life as it happens. Settled in your wabi sabi surroundings you will find it easier to appreciate the moment and learn to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Wabi sabi is about your ability to be happy with what you have not how much you need to feel happy. Happiness is internal and comes from within. You can encourage yourself to be happy more of the time regardless of what is going on around you. This is preferable to relying on external factors to be happy and find your happiness is victim to other people’s whims. This is linked to an appreciation of the aging process and an acceptance of death, helping to diminish common sources of fear, anxiety and depression.
When playing the games of careers, success, relationships or social life it is easy to find ourselves trapped in patterns we are no longer getting the same buzz out of. I notice people get stuck in the high points of their lives, even though life moves on. This could be the pub and party culture after leaving school, a high point in a career or first taste of wealth. Sometimes we become so attached to these highs that they remain the main reason for living even though life and the world has changed. These periods of elation can ultimately hold us back or in extremes even be destructive. Wabi sabi helps escape those superficial distractions making it easier to move forwards into new phases of life, ultimately enjoying a bigger journey in life.
a bigger life
Too many concepts and beliefs can make our world smaller. Our minds will tend to block out things that do not fit our belief systems. For example if a pink elephant flashed across Oxford Street, even though we would see it with our eyes our minds would block it out. A child would register it as he or she would not have been conditioned into thinking a flying pink elephant is impossible. Entering a wabi sabi mind set helps reverse the process of adopting rigid beliefs and reopens our minds to new possibilities, to be able to see our world in its entirety. It gently leads us to rediscover our childhood appetite for wonder and curiosity
Naturally wabi sabi is the antithesis of a modern materialistic world, full of rampant consumerism and provides a welcomed contrast for anyone wanting to get a better balance in life and experience a different perception of him or herself.
Wabi sabi is the ultimate in environmental conservation as it teaches us to be happy with very little and places an emphasis on natural materials.
In terms of health, wabi sabi has all the components to escape stress and develop an attitude that makes it easier to rise to challenges without suffering the ill effects of severe stress. Under stress we tend to become more acidic and many people claim illnesses start after a period of great stress. The Taoist view is that we can greatly improve your health and life expectancy by freeing ourselves of emotional upsets, by taking a bigger, longer-term view of life and using meditative arts like tai chi to spend more time in the now rather than getting stressed by our perception of the future or past. Wabi sabi creates an environment where it is easier to be kinder and gentler with ourselves, to escape some of the pressures and expectations we put ourselves under. It is the emphasis of acceptance, lack of attachments combined with living life as it happens that brings greater freedom from measuring ourselves against self imposed targets.