Wabi-Sabi: the artful dodger

There is a Japanese Art called:  Wabi-Sabi

     “According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen no Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to tea-master Takeeno Joo, who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden. Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.

To this day, the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood to his very core a deep cultural thread known as wabi-sabi. Emerging in the 15th century as a reaction to the prevailing aesthetic of lavishness, ornamentation, and rich materials, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all. In Japan, the concept is now so deeply ingrained that it’s difficult to explain to Westerners; no direct translation exists.”*

imperfect dulling piano

I immediately loved the concept.  I thrive on imperfection.  In fact it is the domain name for this web-blog.  Imperfestionism means that I am more in touch with the process than I am with the out-come.  I love the freedom that being imperfect gives to my otherwise very clever and competitive ego.  At this point all that I know of Wabi-Sabi is that I like the little that I know about it.   I like to believe that I can take that phrase from another culture and create out of it what I want it to mean to me.

I want wabi-sabi to mean to me that i can learn to approach everything that I want both spiritually and materially from the perspective of desire. I want to be able to decide for myself what is in my best interest and what I want to do.  I want to let people, places and things (the nouns)  impact upon me; and I want to be able to generate a feeling of either I like that, or I do not like that in response to all the universe can throw at me in life.

Photography, philosophy and psychoanalysis have been among my deepest passions and i am proud to report to you that I do all of them imperfectly well.  Experimentation in the creative arts is enhanced by a lack of concern for what other have to say to us.  As the brush teaches you how to create a stroke, or how an instrument teaches you how to make a sound, or how a patient teaches you what he needs in order to effectively sing better; your soul learns to listen to your body that has often been drowned out by the sound of the perpetually boastful, arrogant and dysfunctional ego.

Imperfection and impermanence carry the same connotation as selfishness.  They all seem to be some kind of back-bone to American values.  Olympians must be strong, with stand pain, be dangerous and fearless and must win.  These qualities are not qualities that lead to the simple life–the life that is guided by joyful moods and happy events.

Wabi-Sabi is not a thing or a state that everyone will want.  Some people will choose competition and fame as the road to their happiness.  Others, the art folks who follow The Artist’s way, would not be able to thrive in a competitive environment.  For those souls, they must find a way to detach from the desire for perfection to be accepted, and attach to the desire to be accepted by your deeper self.

Meditation is a great example of wabi-sabi.  Who does it perfectly?  Meditation is beautiful in its imperfection.  That is one of the reason why people who do it return to it.  It works to re-align the body and the soul.  It search for the realignment  between are heart-felt desires and our ability to let ourselves want what we want.

I am glad that I found the word.  Wabi-Sabi is a new thing that I want to allow myself to have.

Below is a manifestation of selfish imperfection.  It is selfish because my interest is about this piece pleasing me. I wanted it to provide me with meditative moments, especially while in the process of creating it. Secondly  its impermanence is inherent.  Paper and card board to not exist forever.  The shelf-life of paper is relatively impermanent in geologic time.

IMG_4358

excerpt from a ransom blog

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