Beginning to Understand Wabi-Sabi (侘 寂)

Wabi-sabi(侘 寂)…. a concept from Japan and brought about from Zen, is a wonderful way to incorporate happiness, and appreciation into your life.

I am passionate about wabi-sabi. It has genuinely been a life changing philosophy and lifestyle that has greatly impacted my way of everyday living.

The Western world is obsessed with “stuff” and perfection. It is seen throughout our everyday lives, whether it be our perfect Greek architecture, our new, modern appliances, and the obsessive materialism that we carry with us, mentally and physically. We must buy the newest, most convenient things because we love that convenience. We would rather have a machine make our morning coffee, than us take the time to brew it ourselves. We want the newest, cheap furniture rather than a well made antique. We have a tendency to show off with stuff, and so we have statues everywhere, cheap metals and jewels being branded as more valuable than the rocks surrounding them, we love a bouquet of flowers rather than one single leaf. The list goes on. Even with something like gardening, we love to kill the native weeds and replace them with foreign, although beautiful, flowers.

I do not mean to slander all of these things, for there is an art in all of them that we can really delve into and appreciate, however, overall we have no connection to craftsmanship, and taking the time and patience to do the monotonous tasks that most of the time, we either have a machine or we pay someone, or something, to do it. To us, it’s wasted energy and time. We’re in such a rush that the everyday things are chores.

Little do we realize, is that the everyday things are the times when we can really appreciate living. We spend more time walking than we do actually shopping for our stuff. We aren’t in harmony with Nature, our true selves.

Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic, honoring the imperfections, transience of the everyday. It’s respecting life – from birth to decay. It’s appreciating the simple things. It’s rustic, impermanent, yet refined, beautiful, simple, and clean. It’s appreciating all that is. It’s appreciating Nature. d


It’s not only a style, but something you can bring into your every day and way of thinking.

Appreciating the impermanence of Nature can bring us to appreciate everything, including ourselves. We can learn to appreciate our own, along with other people’s flaws. We can appreciate the cracks and nooks in our furniture, as opposed to rushing and getting a new one when it’s truly not needed.

With wabi-sabi, we can learn to be less cluttered. Having a simple, rustic and empty home is beneficial for more than just having a Zen space, but having a comfortable and meaningful home. Filling your home with real art, less clutter, natural elements, and handmade items is practicing true wabi-sabi.

To have a true wabi-sabi garden, use native, seasonal, and beneficial plants. Keep them neat, but not restricted. Let their natural flow grow through the seasons.

When flowers bloom in Spring, we are in true admiration and pure appreciation. They are beautiful, unique, and seasonal. This blessing is appreciated so much because of how temporary it is.

Keeping this mindset with all things, makes us appreciate the flow of life. Get a little closer to accepting the impermanence of life and how beautiful it can be when it’s kept simple and in harmony with Nature.







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