All posts filed under: Way of Elegance

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 …

Stones at the Sea Edge

The Quality of Light

My father was a master of illusion. Early in his career he was a photoengraver. He etched images in copper plates to run on mechanical presses. Later he worked the large camera in a newspaper’s composing room. He was an expert at creating half-tones, those images newspapers use that are made up of variously spaced and sized dots. Given enough distance from the surface, you don’t see the dots, and your brain’s pattern recognition system creates a meaningful image. Dad enjoyed the process, the technical challenges, and the end result. He was a stickler for quality, frustrated at younger workers who didn’t want to learn the subtler nuances of the craft, didn’t see the point of excellence in daily details. On Friday evenings when I was in junior high, I would stay downtown and wander from pinball arcade to Chinese restaurant to street corner with friends and then around 11:30 I would head to the newspaper office to get a ride home with Dad. If I got there early I sat on a stool inside …

Coming Out as an Empath

The same sensitivity and awareness that causes increased pain, also empowers empaths to know deeper and richer levels of solitude, sabi, and mono no aware. They see all kinds of beauty and they tend to see it everywhere. They feel deep connections in nature, and with others. Their heart it touched every day.  I intuitively knew that if I numbed my pain, I would also numb my joy.

Sabi is the Bedrock of Zen

John G. Rudy in his book, “Wordsworth and the Zen Mind” says sabi is the bedrock of Zen enlightenment. Here is the full quote: Chief among the moods of Zen – and the one that, for all practical purpose, forms the bedrock of Zen enlightenment – is sabi, the spirit of non-attachment or freedom. – John G. Rudy This matter-of-fact assertion by a scholar deeply immersed in the poetic work of the English Romantics seems at first to be slightly provocative. Provocative for me because I’m not sure if I would say that sabi is the spirit of non-attachment. Sabi is Paradoxical As I explored here, I see sabi as a paradoxical state or mood; a combination of loneliness and satisfaction, or perhaps even sadness and contentment. These elements are popularly considered both negative and positive respectively – thus the paradox. How is this possible to be contented and lonely at the same time? I think if we can answer that question we will glimpse the mechanism at the heart of sabi’s essential “spirit.” Sabi is Internal Before …

The Way of Elegance

When I was at David Thompson University Centre I took my first course in Linguistics. I discovered that the study of a word’s history, it’s parts and evolution, was strangely pleasurable and enlightening. More than any other course I took that year, it inspired me to explore the meaning wrapped up in words and language. Here are a few Japanese words that I have found helpful in uncovering this way of life I seem destined to live. Way of Elegance – Two root Japanese words michi (way or path) and fuga (the elegance of poetry) make up the phrase. Fuga, refers to the elegance of poetry. The word is made up of two root words: ‘Fu’ which means the habits and manners of the common folk and ‘Ga’ which refers to the grace or gracefulness of ceremonies at court. Ga is achieved by a poet who is experienced, recognized, and advanced in artistic studies. English words that convey a similar quality are ‘cultured’ or ‘civilized’. The renowned Japanese court poets tried to express ga with …

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 …