The Japanese Philosophy of Wabi-Sabi

The Japanese Philosophy of Wabi-Sabi

In the past decades, the Western world has been obsessed with chasing perfection. But nowadays, more and more people are getting tired of excess and over-the-top indulgence. We are craving a more authentic, simpler way of being – a mindset that is beautifully embraced in the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi. This philosophy reminds us that something doesn’t need to be “complete” or “perfect” in order to be appreciated. With the focus on simplicity and imperfection, the style of Wabi-Sabi is an excellent way to realistically incorporate minimalism into your life. The philosophy of Wabi-Sabi affects various aspects of life. 

The principles of Wabi-Sabi suggest that our food should be simple, natural, and prepared from intuition. Making a meal should be a joyful, creative act rather than a test that you can fail. It’s all about savoring your food. Vegetables and fruits from the farmers’ market or your own garden are an elemental expression of Wabi-Sabi. Imperfect, irregular, and lumpy, a ripe, juicy heirloom tomato is more compelling to look at and to eat as compared to a perfectly formed glasshouse version shipped from another state.
To follow the principles of Wabi-Sabi, you just need to train yourself to appreciate the simplest things in life and use them to engage your senses. When it comes to food, take your time to feel the textures in your mouth, hear the sounds that it makes, inhale the richness of its smell. Last but not least, choose cooking utensils, silverware, and dishes with texture and heft to deepen the sensory experience of eating.

A Wabi-Sabi home inspires minimalism that focuses primarily on the people who live in it. Valuables and other items are trimmed down to the essentials based on nostalgia, beauty, or utility, or all three. In a Wabi-Sabi home, you won’t find items that are intentionally distressed to look old. This is because beauty only appears when time takes its natural course. According to Wabi-Sabi principles, things are beautiful and attractive just the way they are.
Since Wabi-Sabi is not really a home decorating style, practicing it can be quite difficult. It is recommended that you experiment and find what works best for you. Just make sure that everything is kept effortless and natural.

Striving to learn to find beauty in even the simplest of things is one of the core teachings of Wabi-Sabi. Those things could be anything – a curved twig, a fallen autumn leaf, a raindrop, etc. By taking your time to notice and appreciate the beauty of something you would usually ignore, you give it dignity and find yourself amazed at something so insignificant. Having this attitude can keep you living full of joy and in the present.
When it comes to personal beauty, the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi reminds us that it is not about relinquishing self-care. True beauty is about taking care of yourself without turning your face into a blank canvas. If you stop spending your time trying to cover up every gray hair or spackle over every freckle, you can be more fully engaged with the world – and that gives you real charisma.

Photos by: Annie Spratt, Maria Orlova, Pinterest

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