A Little Wabi Sabi For Everyone
Posted on March 8, 2012
“The most valued bowls for tea ceremony are irregularly shaped, and some have gold patches here and there, accentuating (rather than concealing) damage suffered at the hands of long-ago owners. Asymmetry and irregularity allow the possibility of growth, but perfection chokes the imagination” ~Donald Keene
“I feel within me a peace above all earthly dignities, a still and quiet conscience.” William Shakespeare
Today I enjoyed a few simple pleasures amidst my chaotic long workday that started at 5am and didn’t begin to slow down until about 7pm tonight. I believe many can relate with such a schedule, we’re so busy busy busy, trying to beat the clock. But why? Tomorrow will come and pass filled with more moments where one is just trying to burn through to the next, a lather-rinse-repeat cycle. So many spiritualists talk of “living in the moment” but too often the moment is spent reflecting on the past, calculating the future then wondering why the present cannot be savored for what once was now is then or is to be. In my spiritual practice I find that if I just settle into a few moments each day and truly savor what I’m doing, being, seeing or living; like a rock skipping along the water’s surface so too I seem to be able to dance atop the moments just happy to be.
“Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are
And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are” ~ Cat Stevens
There is a Japanese philosophy or concept of Wabi Sabi that reminds me of the appreciation of antiques, like the sturdy lovingly crafted armoire built from golden oak, hand rubbed for a smooth finish that has lasted the sands of times with a few marks from centuries of use; little imperfections that truly show the glory of enduring and being as designed. Wabi can be translated as tranquil simplicity, unpolished perfect or irregular beauty pair this with Sabi, beauty that treasures the passage of time and with it the lonely sense of impermanence it evokes; like the natural cycle of birth and death.
“Wabi Sabi is closely related to the tea ceremony, it’s a spiritual practice invented by Zen Buddhist priests, the tea ceremony is simply defined as “the art of everyday life”. Every object in the tea ceremony is a means of achieving enlightenment and peace of mind through the simple, everyday preparation of tea. Every object in the tea ceremony plays a role. A rustic tea bowl is a reminder that nothing in life is perfect. The empty sweep of the scroll painting suggests that incompleteness can inspire the imagination of the beholder. A single flower in a bamboo vase invites you to take time to notice its understated beauty. The pristine finish of an unvarnished cedar box remind you that wood will always be more beautiful than plastic. The patina that a bronze kettle acquires over time hints that we, too, will change as we pass through time.” ~ Diane Durston “Wabi Sabi, The Art of Everyday Life”
“You owe it to everyone you love (including yourself) to find pockets of tranquility in your busy world” ~Georges Bernanos
Here’s a few of the simple pleasures I partook in tonight.
This dark chocolate bar has coconut pieces that is amazingly good, like a chocolate dipped macaroon that just melts in your mouth. I’ve read that our neurochemical response to chocolate is much like a little drop of heaven, so pop a piece and relax into the creamy bliss unfolding in your mouth. I adore Dry Sodas and Lemongrass is a fave of mine, if you like bubbles and not too much sweet give them a try (Rhubarb and Blood Orange are good as well!)
While at the dog park, walking among the myriad of grays and greens I was stopped in my tracks when I saw this blooming tree, full of pristine white blossoms, I just had to take it in and take a picture!
As a tranquilista falling into the moments of a perfectly imperfect passage through life, I ended my day bathed in the light of the full moon peaking in through my front window. Many blessings to you as you enjoy your Wabi Sabi life.
P.S. Tonight I listened to Dave Mathews Band “Pig” and “Dreamgirl” while writing.