Updated 19 August 2017
This website explores how sabi enhances a strategy to overcome anxiety and suffering. By increasing sensitivity to sabi an important shift in awareness is possible that can ultimately strengthen resiliency and character. Sabi is not the only element needed, but it seems to link many important ones.
For 7 years, from 2007 to 2014, I paddled 100 lakes on Vancouver Island seeking sabi in the ancient tradition of kanjaku.
Kanjaku is a Japanese word that joins leisure or idleness (kan) with loneliness or stillness (jaku). Lonely idling, or leisurely stillness. This was the term that the renowned Japanese poet Basho declared should be the state in which “one’s mind should stay.”
Peipei Qiu writes in Basho and the Dao:
“Sabishisa in Basho’s poems is often not a landscape infused with the sentiment of loneliness but the fundamental tranquility found in the harmonious fusion of the external world and the poetic mind.”
Not merely loneliness, sabi is a clear awareness possible in solitude. In this state nature is accurately perceived through the serenity of poetic vision and a type of Kenshō is possible.
My exploration of sabi increased this kind of vision and started my journey out of clinical anxiety towards freedom. In the process of writing two books on Wabi Sabi, and then practicing Kanjaku, I gained a series of insights and practices that have produced healing. I plan to unpack them here so that others who are suffering might find some options for their own recovery.
I hope you find a welcomed difference here. Please feel free to comment and engage me in discussion. I’m interested in hearing from others who are working with these same or similar insights and experiences in the stream of existence.
Richard R. Powell