Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese secret to happiness

This is how the Japanese philosophy of the imperfection of beauty and the transience of existence is known.

The Wabi-Sabi is described as an aesthetic vision and a way of understanding the world inspired by Buddhism and based on the beauty of imperfection, on the transience and non-permanence of existence that could be synthesized as “nothing in hard life forever, nothing is complete and nothing is perfect. "

This intimate and philosophical point of view has been present in Japan since before the 14th century in everyday objects, architectural elements and artistic designs with a natural or rustic appearance. They are characterized by their asymmetry, roughness or simplicity, and by being sometimes worn or cracked. It is a concept that can also be applied to the way in which human beings live and understand their daily lives.

"Wabi-Sabi is the concept that seeks beauty within the imperfections of life and that peacefully accepts the natural cycle of growth and decay of every living being or object. It is a type of Japanese aesthetics that could be summed up as simplicity and tranquility ”, report from the school and space for the dissemination of Japanese culture, Espai Wabi-Sabi.

In this visual travel diary full of anecdotes, observations and amazes, which originated a book titled 'Wabi Sabi' (without a hyphen between the two words), Arrazola describes Japanese culture from its gastronomy, traditions and beliefs, to urban planning, character of people, the collective solitude, the vision of sex, the peculiar words and the arts. 

For its elaboration it was inspired by the novel of the same name (but with a script) written by the American author Leonard Koren in 1994.

"Wabi-Sabi refers to the imperfect, the incomplete and the changeable of modest and humble things, of unconventional things, and his philosophy is to enjoy the present and find peace and harmony in nature and small things, ”says Arrazola.

Direct experience

Asked how the Wabi-Sabi lived and experienced in the cradle of this current and in the first person, Arrazola points out that "finding that what is not perfect is also valid, was a respite for me".

For the Japanese this concept occupies the same position as in the West the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection. The word 'wabi' refers to the stillness and freshness of the simple, while 'sabi' speaks of the serenity that appears with age. 

According to the Mahayana Buddhist perspective, these are positive characteristics because they represent liberation from the material world.

“Get used to having a 'life of ten', where everything has to go well, shine and be perfect and, also, have to show others (thank you, social media!) How well everything is going, how happy you are you are, it is an anguish, a kind of jail ”, explains the young woman. 

For this reason, "I found this philosophy, characterized by love for the crack, for what was used, for the object licked by time."

When asked about the positive effects for well-being of applying this way of thinking, the illustrator comments: "if we all had more in mind things like living now or going more calmly through life we ​​would be happier", and advises: " I realized at one point in my life that I hardly tasted food because I ate in a hurry. We must stop, know how to use the five senses that we have for something. Learn to breathe. Be more aware. "

If we had more in mind things like living now or going more calmly through life, we would be happier. You have to stop, know how to use the five senses, learn to breathe

Without wishing to venture into the field of professional psychological counseling, Arrazola points out that to apply this philosophy in our daily life we ​​must “start with very simple aspects, but they can have a great impact on our well-being and the way in which we we relate to our environment ”.

1. Stop to feel!

“Using the five senses we have and stopping to think about what sounds we hear, what the food we eat tastes like, what it smells like, may seem like a small thing; however, it makes us feel more aware of where we are and who we are, ”he points out.

2. Breathe carefully!

“Learning to introduce air through the mouth, to reach the stomach, exhale, feel the oxygen reach your entire body ... If the oxygen arrives, we do not get nervous. We do not lose control, we own ourselves and we are not afraid of anxiety attacks ”, he points out.

3. Look on the bright side!

"This may sound hippie, but you have to try to focus on the positive aspects of things, not fall into victimism, and not lose sight of the idea that there is life and it is better to enjoy it. Furthermore, surrounding ourselves with people who love and value us will make us value what we have, too, ”concludes Arrazola. 

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