We live in pretentious times where more is considered to be better. Most people are working hard to get a better job, a bigger car or a more spacious home. People who run after these things forget to enjoy the present in order to make their future better. If you belong to this category and are unhappy, you can adopt the wabi-sabi lifestyle to live a more meaningful and happy life. It will slow you down and instead of wishing for more, it will help you find happiness in the present.
What is wabi-sabi?
It is a Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in simplicity and imperfection. Legend has it that once a Japanese tea-master asked his disciple to clean the garden. The disciple cleaned all the fallen leaves and branches. He also raked the garden and made it spic and span. The master then came to inspect the garden and slowly went towards a cherry tree. He shook the tree and a few flowers fell on the ground. It was the imperfect beauty of nature that made the garden more beautiful.
How can you include wabi-sabi in your life?
Anything perfect in shape or shiny is a far cry from the wabi-sabi way of life. It is more about respecting and embracing the lovely imprints of time like a crack on your ceramic or rust on your chairs. It is feeling content with an old, worn-out wooden floor or marks on your coffee table. Wabi-sabi is about learning to live with what you have and not run behind new and fancy items. It teaches you to create a home with unique items that have lasted you a long time and are still good to use. It is strikingly different from a society that believes in using and disposing on a whim.
Use passed-on items
Is there a chair or a bowl that has been in your family for generations? Instead of throwing it away or being embarrassed about the marks on them, wabi-sabi teaches you to appreciate the history behind them. Surely, they must have tales to tell that must be close to your heart. Wabi-sabi is about finding value in them and enjoying those memories. A new item will certainly not have any such history associated with it.
Buy hand-made products
Of course, you will have to buy new stuff as time passes by. You will have children or they will move out creating the need for new items. Instead of buying something is produced in thousands at a factory, buy something hand-made. Wabi-sabi is about respecting workmanship and the little imperfections of handmade items.
Wabi-sabi is about embracing what is natural. Remember this whenever you step out to buy an item for your house. Buy more of natural wood and stone items. They will not only last for a long time but will also age well. Similarly, when you are buying curtains or sheets, opt for natural fabrics instead of synthetic ones. Linen sheets, in particular, age beautifully and only go better with every wash. Use the same philosophy when choosing colors. Try to include as many natural colors as possible to create a cozy and warm surrounding.
Wabi-sabi teaches one to be content with the current state of things. In fact, you will adopt a real wabi-sabi lifestyle when you will strip your house of every unnecessary item. The key is to have only those things that are necessary and declutter your home. This will make you appreciate the real and valuable things in life. It will teach you to find meaning in relationships instead of material things.
By teaching you to be more appreciative of what you have, wabi-sabi teaches you to be more thankful for your life. When transferred to other aspects of life, you will find more peace and a sense of calmness in your present moment.
In sum, wabi-sabi is not just running away from flashy and shiny things. It is more about taking a pause and appreciating nature and its imperfections. It is about accepting what you have and finding gratitude in it.