Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Honoring Complexity, Being Rooted in Simplicity

--by Richard Powell (Dec 15, 2008)

The complexity of life can mask its poignancy. The web of daily tasks and events can seem so manifold, so knotty and tangled, that the deeper richness contained within them gets overshadowed, lost in the labyrinth of scheduling, obscured by the preoccupation with efficiency. The ongoing attempt to stay on track, to balance multiple demands for time, eventually conditions us to accept dizziness as normal, and multiple distractions as a daily inevitability.

We get good at screening calls, scanning emails, and multi-tasking. We grow used to over-stimulation, resigned to clutter and excess. Instead of periods of busyness, we find that the details of each opportunity pile up like snow during a very long winter. Each flake seems so small and harmless, lovely on its own as it drifts from the sky, but when there are several feet of those flakes piled up, those little details become a blanket of obfuscation.

Are you longing for a Christmas break in the "detail deluge", a holiday respite from the snow load of particulars and possessions? Maybe you have begun to realize that the warmth and security that goes along with procuring the necessities of life can also be accompanied by the colder precipitation of multiple possessions. Perhaps in the bracing reality of making a living you have lost touch with the warm pulse of life. Don't worry, the pulse is still there, still rhyming each moment with a rhythm of meaning. All those details, meetings, appointments, tasks, and obligations can be recognized as the colorful paper, wrappings, and trappings that surround subtler gifts. Understood in this way, each busy life can provide a steady supply of hidden presents.

Many wise traditions know the importance of finding a balance between action and stillness. One way of achieving that balance is by a simple yet profound way of living called 'Wabi Sabi'.
It is a way that is natural, drawing close to the real world, and relaxing perpetually into beautiful patterns that exist there. Wabi Sabi is a way of life that appreciates and accepts complexity while at the same time values simplicity. It nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. To accept these realities is to accept contentment as the maturation of happiness, and to acknowledge that clarity and grace can be found in genuine unvarnished existence. Filled with subtlety and depth, this way is a river flowing toward and away from you, and always within you.

--Richard Powell

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Previous Reflections:

On Dec 15, 2008 PRS wrote:
nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect, when we realise this some thing lasts, some thing gets finished and some thing becomes perfect - we have to experience it, it can not be explained or shown.

On Dec 16, 2008 Brinda wrote:
Wow, that is profound and very timely. I like the part about all the details being the "wrapping paper".
If only we could realize the gift in each moment.

On Dec 16, 2008 Karenne wrote:
What a lovely gift you have given me for the festive season. The gift in the moment of reading this has filled my soul with peace....thank you :)

On Dec 17, 2008 Darren wrote:
be yourself, be free, be real, face life and enjoy!

On Dec 18, 2008 abhi wrote:
very perfect things to inspire the peoples

On Dec 21, 2008 Tyler wrote:
Great insperation!

On Dec 22, 2008 zetty wrote:
Life is beautiful so all you have to do is to smile with all your heart :)

On Dec 24, 2008 mitra wrote:
at the end of every year, i realise how it passes very quickly, i am now embracing every moment, thankyou.

On Jan 24, 2015 Ms Bettye Short wrote:


On Jan 24, 2015 bountiful wrote:

 A inspiring passage of enlightment! Wow just put in a way that I am able to understand clearly what has been around me, and others all this time.. but now have a more clear view in my mind of the three words of mindfulness to keep in my memory when needing to slow down, and see what is happening around me in time.... ï»¿

On Nov 17, 2016 Dot wrote:

 Reading this beautiful essay today, I took a deep, long, relaxing breath and just let it out slowly.  I read these words over and over and they have become a new talisman to me, a great truth in simple words:   "..three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."  ♡.