Of Scars and the Fleetingness of Beauty

Ueno Park Hanami

Ueno Park Hanami

Scars have often been considered as marks of imperfection meant to be hidden or erased by whatever means necessary. And for some people, they are something to be ashamed of. This mindset often leads to a lot of grief and disappointments. Everyone gets scarred physically, emotionally, or psychologically at some point. When you experience it, what you think about you bring about the happiness of acceptance or the despair of agonizing over an imperfect life.

The Japanese have an interesting concept that takes a different view on imperfection known as wabi-sabi. It is a mindset or way of looking at the impermanence of beauty.

Wabi-sabi is an intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world. It is an understated beauty that exists in the modest, rustic, imperfect, or even decayed, an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things. – Andrew Juniper

How the Japanese perceive beauty may not be so easy to grasp viewed through the lens of western and popular concepts of beauty. But one way to better understand it is how the country celebrates hanami or flower viewing surrounding the breathtaking yet fleeting beauty of sakura (cherry blossoms). Sakura is symbolic of new beginnings as it ushers in the springtime. And yet, these cherry blossoms rarely last long thus people take the time to view and appreciate them while still in bloom. One of the things hanami can teach the rest of the world is learning how to celebrate beauty regardless of how fleeting it can be.