Posted by: Lotus Light | March 25, 2010

Wabi Sabi

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese world view based on  transience, of accepting that ‘nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect‘. (Koren, Leonard (1994). Wabi-Sabi for
Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers
. It goes even further to find the deepest beauty in the imperfect.   ‘The aesthetic is … described as one of beauty that is
"imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete"
. (Powell, Richard R. (2004). Wabi Sabi

This resonates today.  Spring is here, the winter has passed.  The perfection of snow has melted away and  the beauty of of new flowers lasts only a few days.  Finding beauty in imperfection seems more difficult than finding it in perfection, but to me, the imperfect is equally beautiful, equally enticing and equally worthy of seeing.

These glorious magnolias, now flowering in the garden outside my door, are no longer perfect.  Many of the buds never reach perfection, being nibbled by bugs, or blown by breezes.  But their beauty, their promise and potential still linger.

Imperfection gives us somewhere to go to and a road still to travel.  If we achieve true perfection, what then?  How long does it last?  Can we achieve the same again in our lives? We can live perfect moments, but they disappear quickly.  We can see the perfect sunset and watch it fade.  Perfection can create melancholy within us, from its loss.

Appreciating the imperfect, in our lives, in the world around us, maintains an inner harmony, at the same time as providing the chance to look a little deeper within ourselves for the beauty that is there, and the road to that beauty.  Understanding the principle of wabi-sabi allows us to forgive ourselves for imperfections, places us more squarely within the natural world, but does not let us off the hook of growth – of finding the potential for perfection that lingers within us. 

The transience of our experiences and of the beauty around us deepens the strength of those experiences.  Knowing that what we see today, what we are today will change tomorrow is a challenge for acceptance; a chance for creating changes; an opportunity for growth.

Just as these flowers drop petals and lose perfection, at the same time they are nourishing the seeds of the new within them.  Without this imperfection, the potential for new life would be lost.



  1. i like this one, learn from nature.

  2. Transience. That is a good way to explain the path of becoming conscious, Deborah. One doesn\’t stay in one place, one level of consciousness, one is constantly moving forward while continuously shifting sideways through shadow country. Perhaps the idea of continual rebirth is the goal to be lived in one lifetime, not a series of lifetimes. Thanks for these wabi-sabi thoughts.

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