Wabi-Sabi — For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

“Wabi-Sabi is a beauty of things imperfect,
impermanent, and incomplete.
It is a beauty of things modest and, humble.
It is a beauty of things unconventional.”


“Things wabi-sabi are usually small and compact,
quiet and inward-oriented.
They beckon: get close, touch, relate.
They inspire a reduction of the psychic distance
between one thing and another thing;
between people and things.” 


“Things wabi-sabi do not blare out “I am important”
or demand to be the center of attention.
They are understated and unassuming,
yet not without presence or quiet authority.
Things wabi-sabi easily coexist with the rest of their environment.”


“Places wabi-sabi are tranquil and calming,
enveloping and womb-like.”


The simplicity of wabi-sabi is probably best described as the state of grace
arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence.

The main strategy of this intelligence is economy of means.
Pare down to the Essence, but don’t remove the poetry.
Keep things clean and unencumbered, but don’t sterilize.


The wabi-sabi state of mind is often communicated through poetry,
because poetry lends itself to emotional expression and
strong, reverberating images that seem “larger”
than the small verbal frame that holds them
(thus evoking the larger universe).


Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment
given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view.
Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness,
an extraordinary moment
of poetry and grace.


Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance
between the pleasure we get from things and
the pleasure we get from freedom from things.


The poor student, the wealthy business person, and the powerful religious leader – distinctly different social classes on the outside – are equals within.


Get rid of all that is unnecessary.
Focus on the intrinsic and ignore material hierarchy.
Wabi-Sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success –
wealth, status, power, and  luxury –
and enjoy the unencumbered life.


~Excerpts from Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren.

Excellence Reporter 2019

Categories: Beauty

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