How Wabi and Imperfection Gave Me Peace of Mind

As I look around at the general shortcomings of not only this blog, but my life in general, I had to take some time to reflect on where I was. Like many other times in life, I got an answer from one of my favorite books of all time.

人和書 ( Men and Books) : Zen and Japanese Culture: 禪與日本文化

On page 284 the page reads:

[speaking of wabi] And wabi is not merely a psychological reaction to a certain pattern of environment. There is an active principle of aestheticism in it; when this is lacking poverty becomes indigence, aloneness becomes ostracism or misanthropy or inhuman unsociability. Wabi or sabi, therefore may be defined as an active aesthetical appreciation of poverty;

To put this another way, wabi is the appreciation of the beauty that is the result of imperfection.

If an object has wabi, it can be thought of as having “character.”

I think that the meaning behind this is that there can be hidden treasures lying underneath troubled circumstances. The person who understands wabi realizes his trouble: his lack, his want, his failure. But despite the knowledge of this, the person decides to reshape his impoverished environment.  Doing the absolute best they can, and with a genuine heart.

And with the study of wabi, the genuine heart is the gold that emerges from underneath the trouble. The other benefit is the authenticity that comes with overcoming a problem while living within your means.

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