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WABI-SABI: Finding beauty in imperfection, impermanence and simplicity | The Mindful Word

Possessions are pared down, and pared down again, until only those that are necessary for their utility or beauty and ideally both are left. What makes the cut?

Items that you both admire and love to use, like those hand-crank eggbeaters that still work just fine. Pieces of your own history: Wabi-sabi interiors tend o amor wabi sabi be muted, dimly lit, and shadowy-giving the rooms an enveloping, womblike feeling.

Natural materials that are vulnerable to weathering, warping, shrinking, cracking, and peeling lend an air of perishability. The palette is drawn from browns, blacks, grays, earthy greens, and o amor wabi sabi.

This implies a lack of freedom but actually affords an opportunity for innovation and creativity. In Japan, kimonos come in a hundred different shades of gray. You simply have to hone your vision so you can see, and feel, them all. Wabi, not o amor wabi sabi Wabi-sabi can be exploited in all sorts of ways, and one of the most tempting is to use it as an excuse to shrug off an unmade bed, an unswept floor, or a soiled sofa.


How tempting o amor wabi sabi might be to let the split running down the sofa cushion seam continue on its merry way, calling it wabi-sabi. To spend Saturday afternoon at the movies and let the dust settle into the rugs: To buy five extra minutes of sleep every morning by not making the bed—as a wabi-sabi statement, of course.

A solid yellow line separates tattered and shabby, dust and dirt from something worthy of veneration.

Shin-shoka | Cercis o árbol del amor Cymbidium | Wabi-Sabi Ikebana | Flickr

Wabi-sabi is never messy or slovenly. Both ancient and modern o amor wabi sabi masters teach that even the poorest wabi tea person should always use fresh green bamboo utensils and new white cloths for wiping the tea bowl. Spaces that have been thoroughly and lovingly cleaned are ultimately more welcoming.

When the bed is neatly made, the romance of a frayed quilt blossoms.


Zen, with its principles of vast emptiness and nothing holy, stresses austerity, communion with nature, and o amor wabi sabi all, reverence for everyday life as the real path to enlightenment. To reach enlightenment, Zen monks lived ascetic, often isolated lives and sat for long periods of concentrated meditation.

To help his fellow monks stay awake during these excruciating meditation sessions, Eisai taught them how to process tea leaves into a hot drink. Once Eisai was gone, o amor wabi sabi, tea took on a very different life of its own. Around the fourteenth century, the upper classes developed elaborate rituals involving tea.

Large tearooms were built in an ostentatious style known o amor wabi sabi shoin, with numerous Chinese hanging scrolls and a formal arrangement of tables for flower vases and incense burners. Tea practitioners proved their wealth and status through their collections of elegant Chinese-style tea utensils during three-day weekenders where up to one hundred cups of tea as well as food and sake were served.

Then along came Murata O amor wabi sabi, an influential tea master who also happened to be a Zen monk. In a radical fashion departure, Shuko began using understated, locally produced utensils during his tea gatherings.

  • Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships by Arielle Ford
  • WABI-SABI: Finding beauty in imperfection, impermanence and simplicity

He brought unadorned celadon and Korean peasant wares into the tearoom. The hut included a nijiriguchi, a low entryway that forced guests to bow and experience humility as they entered.


Rikyu made some of his own utensils of unlacquered bamboo as common as crabgrass in Japan, but nowadays a Rikyu original is worth as much o amor wabi sabi a Leonardo da Vinci paintingand he arranged flowers simply and naturally in bamboo vases shakuhachi and baskets.