Impermanence, imperfection, ephemeral, slowness, humility. Words that are so old-fashioned today that they seem almost revolutionary. But they are re-entering common language and everyday life. «Because a new era is opening: human beings, if they want to save themselves, must change the pace, changing their thinking, in order to then change society. But this happens if before change themselves, from within, undertaking an interior journey, against the current ». When he speaks, Selene Calloni Williams, he closes his eyes, as if to carefully ponder every single word that comes out of his mouth, as if to taste their taste and the effect they have.
Because words are actions.
I reach Selene via Skype on a hot July afternoon. Jungian psychologist, shaman and expert in shamanic yoga and Japanese aesthetics, she has just published the book with Pickwick “Wabi Sabi – The beauty of imperfect life”, a book that tries to explain how all the concepts reported in the incipit are essential for a happy life.
Seeking different points of view to read ourselves and the world around us, making the most of the creative power of our mind can offer us the way to deal with stress, radical changes in our life or to give it a new, unexpected but more satisfying direction.
Wabi Sabi is a cardinal principle of the Japanese worldview that, in that lifestyle, method of thought, state of consciousness, summarizes in itself most of the secrets of esoteric Tantric Buddhism, Zen and, even before, Taoism.
In this particular disposition of the heart and mind, Wabi Sabi is the strength of calm, which derives frombe in tune with universal harmonies, and it’s resilience, as the capacity to accept our fragility, imperfection and transience. Wabi Sabi is also theessentiality, the maximum simplicity, the extreme synthesis of every form.
Appropriating this lifestyle now appears as a necessity in our culture, so marked by fear, individualism, the need for control, frustration. And it represents a possibility for today’s man to develop a new method of poetic thought, able to understand the beauty and complexity of reality and to feel at one with it.
What exactly is Wabi Sabi?
«Wabi it is melancholy, sweet sadness, evanescence, imperfection. Sabi it is the passing of time, what vanishes and never comes back. Together they are the praise of impermanence that pushes us, invites us to enjoy the here and now, not to damn us for what has been and not to worry about what will be. Here is happiness in synthesis ».
It’s that simple? Just accept that no moment is perfect?
«Accepting is already judging. We must welcome every moment for what it is and thank it for what it is giving us, in an attitude of openness. I want to tell you a story, the legend of Tomoe Gozen, a samurai shaman, a warrior nun, who is said to be invincible. Quentin Tarantino is said to have been inspired by her for the character of Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill”. It is said that Tomoe faced twenty armed samurai alone and defeated them all. So they asked her the secret of her invincibility and she replied: “When I draw my katana, I am not alone: I have with me the spirits of my frailties, of my imperfections, of my weaknesses. I am stronger precisely because I am more fragile ”. Knowing that she could lose, that she could be defeated, Tomoe became invincible because it frees us from anxieties, fears. Living only in the present moment, he won the opponents; by detaching the mind, without strategies, he has achieved his goal ».
Knowing that you don’t know, therefore, knowing that you are not …
“Exactly, the praise ofhumility. To put the self aside, to serve the other, to love him and love each other in the imperfection that we are. To love is to serve, every religion, every creed says so ».
So, what do you need to do to live the Wabi Sabi way?
«You said it yourself: to live, in fact. In the book there are numerous practices indicated, but in fact Wabi Sabi is a way of life. Living without the desire to control, immersed in the moment that is now: seeing a butterfly flying in front of us and stopping to thank it. This is being in tune, in harmony with the universe and over this the mind has no power. The destination in the end it is nothing more than moments that reveal the path to us: if we concentrate on wanting to learn the path, we end up not taking a step. Let us not cling to material things: although we think otherwise, they do not last. Love is dissolving, is to be part of that emptiness, which in Sanskrit is described as Sunyata, that is the full emptiness, which fills with beauty and joy ».
A slower pace of life, which allows us to notice the little things …
«In the slowness you discover the rhythm of the universe, you become aware, you taste the experience to the end, because you are there, because you are there. You don’t need to move on to the next one because Are you happy now. Projecting oneself into the future is often the cause of profound dissatisfaction and anxiety, we seem not to be, to never do enough. If only we opened our eyes and saw what we are now, right now… ».
Recommend us a couple of practices that we can introduce into everyday life and that can introduce us to Wabi Sabi.
“A simple practice is theOMI (One Minute Immersion). It is a practice of mindfulness, or awareness, which lasts only one minute and is repeated several times (at least two) throughout the day. Here’s how to do it: Sit with your spine straight and consider an imperfect aspect of your life or body. See this imperfection as a spirit, an invisible but sentient presence. Gently place your left hand on your mouth and nose. Finally he whispers into the cup formed by the hollow of your hand: “I have faith in you!” This meditation dissolves insecurities and enables you to get on the way to your ikigai in harmony with natural rhythms. Ikigai (from iki, “to live” and gai, “reason”) is a Japanese term that is generally rendered with the expression “what is worth living for”. This is connected with the ability to understand the language of nature and with wabi sabi: balance, moderation, temperance.
The second ritual is that of let go, “to-mo-e-do”. As beautiful as what you are doing, you can make something even more beautiful. You have to free up space, have faith in your destiny, be creative, nurture bigger projects, look a little further: it’s time for a new adventure. But you don’t have to forget the past for this. Conversely, keep as much nostalgia as possible for what flows away. Nostalgia is a fundamental aspect of wabi sabi, it is poetry, it is beauty capable of intensifying your sensitivity and your creativity, and propitiate you ever greater visions.
Do this: take an object from nature, for example a pebble, a pine cone, a leaf, a sprig, an apple, a tomato, a handful of rice grains, and make it the symbol of something that you can let go to allow yourself to overcome yourself. , to have new ideas and free up energy for new projects.
Place this item in a special place in your home and keep it there for seven days. In the evening, before falling asleep, visualize the object and think about what you need to let go. Do not calculate or analyze with the mind, because the mind can demonstrate everything and the opposite of everything simultaneously, and if it is animated by fear it will hardly allow you to let go of the old elements of your life to make room for the new.
Better to perceive than to think; feel the infinite possibilities that will open up to you when you have made room for the new, letting go of the ballast. At the first opportunity you bury the object you took from nature by returning it to nature and repeating: «To-mo-e-dō» (literally, “the way of the vortex”), like a mantra, articulating the syllables well “.