Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wabi Sabi

A barren tree in the dead of winter. but life would come back in spring.
i am not sure that i can fully explain wabi-sabi, but it seems to me to be the right way to live, not that i actually follow it. in fact, i am quite far from it, and that is why it is such an attractive idea to me.
it is a philosophy of simplicity in life, of not striving or struggling. wabi-sabi accepts that life is imperfect, and fleeting. with life inevitably comes decay. we cannot hold on to happy moments, but sadness does not last forever either. as such, one should move with the natural rhythm of life.
this term probably is of zen origins, but it is not very different from the attitude set out in Ecclesiastes (Old Testament). King Solomon too, observes that 'everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind'. we will return to dust, with all our dreams and aspirations, and all our griefs.
but don't get me wrong. i don't think this attitude is pessimistic at all. it is serene acceptance of what life offers us, and a refusal to strain too hard at things that are impermanent anyway, and trying to control what we cannot control.
and for the Christian, it means also that we submit ourselves to the will of God for what He wants to bring about in our lives, because as the psalmist says, 'all the days ordained for me are written in Your book before one of them came to be'.
i imagine that wabi-sabi cannot be achieved with effort. one would just be trying too hard. it is cultivated when we learn to let go. and peace comes from not struggling to change what we cannnot, letting ourselves flow unresistingly through the ups and downs in life, knowing that we are secure in the love of God, and we will meet Him one day. i suppose, all questions and complaints can wait until then.

1 comment:

Vee San said...

Interestingly, I was just pondering on this subject just a few weeks ago. Having survived winter thus far, and seeing the everywhere is nothing but bleak, gloomy and dead, I've come to realize the importance of winter: with death comes life. There needs to be a dying before regeneration can arise. Flowers are starting to bloom here, and food season is coming. The beauty of it all lies in that even for Christians, as we continuously die to Christ, we will emerge as a better, more beautiful person in Christ.