All posts filed under: Wabi Sabi

Truth and Beauty

“Truth and Beauty are fundamentally different. Whereas Truth is a property of statements, beauty reveals itself in the course of an experience with an object.” Howard Gardner Do you know what you value? I value beauty. I say in my profile that I value beauty and excellence, as well as truth and kindness. Beauty is #1. The older I get, the more my values coalesce around the holy trinity of values espoused by Aristotle and others: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. What is the difference between the three? This post isn’t about making those distinctions. For that I recommend Gardner’s book, Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed. Or check out his lecture on the topic. I found Garner’s book to be helpful and insightful. For audio book lovers, it is available on Hoopla for free with a library membership, in many cases. That is how I “read” it. Beauty is a personal thing. I like blurry backgrounds in my photos, you don’t; I’m mesmerized by the beauty of daisies blowing in a breeze, you find them ugly …

A Year of Bokeh

It started when I looked at a photo by Eden Bromfield and thought, “woah, how did he get that shot?” I’d been looking at photos for months, deciding what I was most drawn to. What type of photos did I want to take? I liked both the ultra sharp landscapes that I would later come to understand are the result of a technique called photo stacking. And I liked soft (gasp) out-of-focus photos I would later learn were the result of a fortuitous geometry in the heart of specific lenses. But back then, gazing at that photo of Eden Bromfield’s I was simply lost in the beauty of it. The delicate over-lapping discs and rings of light echoing the cap of the mushroom and the general sense of glowing luminosity. I was enchanted. Learning the technique took a few months but it led me on a journey which culminated, finally a year later, in this shot: Different Kinds of Bokeh After viewing a number of the images with those glowing haloed backgrounds, I notices the …

BC Ferry silhouetted against Sunrise

Beauty Will Save the World

“Too often, beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy…. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence.” – Pope Benedict XVI Speaking to a collection of artists. The wounding, eye opening, joyful, grasping of profound meaning that the Pope described is an experience I’ve had. In fact I’ve had this experience many times and I now spend most of my free time putting myself in contexts where it might occur. It is not, of course, …

Continuing To Be Still In The Stream

Originally Posted 19 July 2015 Updated 04 November 2017 Shortly after the publication of my first book on wabi sabi in 2004 I created a website called stillinthesteam.com. I maintained a full site with contests, articles, and news, for 10 years, then transferred my domain name here in July of 2015. I want to shift my focus from the wider wabi sabi ideal, to the application of sabi in everyday life. I still believe that the the phrase “still in the stream” captures the paradox and joy I’m following, and also searching for. When I started my 100 lakes project it was a way to more deeply explore sabi through a practice known as Kanjaku. The 100 lakes blog was largely a series of travelogs with the occasional post of my philosophical musings. Over the years I launched new blogs to try to chronicle some of the inner journey I have been on, but as is often the case for me, and those with similar personalities to mine, I don’t seem to make much progress …

Wabi Sabi for Writers

Wabi Sabi For Writers Find Inspiration. Respect Imperfection. Create Peerless Beauty. by Richard R. Powell, published by Adams Media What if deep poetry flowed through your day-to-day life? What if writing that poetry was a path to enlightenment? Basho, the grandfather of haiku poetry, named this path, “the Way of Elegance” because it connects you to grace and fills your life with subtle beauty. I began writing Wabi Sabi for Writers, to communicate the significance of this path for writers, but I ended up with a book for anyone who wants the poetic light inside them to penetrate the darkness that surrounds them. Basho knew the central defining quality of his culture was: “a sensitivity to things,” and he deliberately and thoughtfully crafted practices to support and deepen that sensitivity. These practices allowed the quality to expand his life. Unfortunately he found that while “a sensitivity to things” expanded his awareness of beauty it also expanded his awareness of suffering. This heightened awareness of both beauty and suffering leads some people to despair. This is …

Evolution In The Stream

In 2004 I started a website called “Still in the Stream.” The idea was to build upon my books about wabi sabi and explore the wider artistic, philosophical, and lifestyle components to the wabi sabi aesthetic. Then I embarked on my 100 Lakes project and have been focused on that for the past 3 years. Over Christmas I started listening to the podcast series, Evolutionary Christianity, with guarded interest. The experience has proved to be more stimulating that I had hoped and I am re-energized to explore the confluence of Evolution and Spirituality. Wabi Sabi has proven to be a deep and consistent set of concepts and values that have some evolutionary echos. The function of this blog will be to explore and record my thoughts on the subject. It will be largely a text-based effort, but I’ll try to include relevant images from time to time.