Category Archives: nature

The Way of Elegance

“Something is elegant if it is two things at once: unusually simple and surprisingly powerful. One without the other leaves you short of elegant. And sometimes the “unusual simplicity” isn’t about what’s there, it’s about what isn’t. At first glance, elegant things seem to be missing something… Elegant ideas—products, services, performances, strategies, whatever—all have some degree of these four elements: symmetry, seduction, subtraction, and sustainability. ” — Matthew E. May

“For me, elegance is not to pass unnoticed but to get to the very soul of what one is.” — Christian Lacroix

“Be patient, do nothing, cease striving. We find this advice disheartening and therefore unfeasible because we forget it is our own inflexible activity that is structuring the reality. We think that if we do not hustle, nothing will happen and we will pine away. But the reality is probably in motion and after a while we might take part in that motion. But one can’t know.” — Paul Goodman, “Five Years: Thoughts During a Useless Time” via Whiskey River

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.” — Coco Chanel

“Desires are many, needs are few. Needs can be fulfilled; desires, never. A desire is a need gone crazy. It is impossible to fulfill it. The more you try to fulfill it, the more it goes on asking, asking, asking….Once you start learning how to choose the peaceful, a small room is enough; a small quantity of food is enough; a few clothes are enough; one lover, a very ordinary man, can be enough of a lover.” — Osho, “Everyday Osho”

“Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common – this is my symphony.” — William Channing

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….

One of the key concepts on the way of elegance is “furyu.” Basho discovered in his life of reading and thinking and wandering and teaching and writing that all of these things contributed to Furyu which literally means “in the way of the wind and stream”. It is putting yourself in the traffic, launching yourself into the action, not necessarily as a player, but deliberately, as the eyes and ears and taste buds and sense of smell. Furyu is a powerful tool that shows you what you like, and also what you love.

When a person has followed the Way of Elegance for a while she reaches a state where all she wants is to attend to quality moments with focused acceptance. Such a stance is hard to amintain; her family and friends will push her to distraction, pressure her to be normal. If you see her in this situation, enter her sabi, show her your wabi. Encourage her to follow furyu with you.” — Richard R. Powell, “Wabi Sabi for Writers”

“Furyu” is composed of two characters meaning, “wind” and “flowing.” Like the moving wind, it can be sensed but not seen. It is both tangible and intangible in its suggested elegance. And like the wind, furyu points to a wordless ephemeral beauty that can only be experienced in the moment, for in the next instant it will dissolve like the morning mist.

“The simplicity of wabi-sabi is best described as the state of grace arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence. The main strategy of this intelligence is economy of means. Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry. Keep things clean and unencumbered, but don’t sterilize. (Things that are wabi-sabi are emotionally warm, never cold.) Usually this implies a limited palette of materials. It also means keeping conspicuous features to a minimum. But it doesn’t mean removing the invisible connective tissue that somehow binds the elements into a meaningful whole.” — Leonard Koren, “Wabi-sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers”

As a human being, I can only say that the future is yet to be made. Let us go forth and make it, but let us make it as beautifully as we can. The degree of elegance is determined by our will and the perfection of our own personalities. — Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

What our ash tree is becoming…..

It was a pleasure to meet you Saturday.
I have been working on the first ash bowl. It’s a natural edge.
The wood is still wet. It will be a few days until I can get a finish on it.
When I do it would be a pleasure to give one like this to you.
The wood on this piece should warp as it cures giving it character.

Allan Schiro
San Diego Wood Turner

Nature

Wherever you find that society is in conflict with nature, choose nature—whatever the cost. You will never be a loser.

The thinking up to now has been that the individual exists for the society, that the individual has to follow what the society dictates. The individual has to fit with the society. That has become the definition of the normal human being—one who fits with the society. Even if the society is insane, you have to fit with it; then you are normal.

Now the problem for the individual is that nature demands one thing, and society demands something contrary. If the society were demanding the same as nature demands, there would be no conflict. We would have remained in the Garden of Eden. The problem arises because society has its own interests, which are not necessarily in tune with the interests of the individual. Society has its own investments, and the individual has to be sacrificed. This is a very topsy-turvy world. It should be just the other way round. The individual does not exist for the society, the society exists for the individual. Because society is just an institution, it has no soul. The individual has the soul, is the conscious center.”

Everyday Osho — 365 Daily meditations for the here and now by Osho

I find American society to be pretty crazy-making. We are given so many conflicting messages, and made to feel like we must strive to be more, do more, have more. The message is never to simply enjoy what you have, to love what is already in your life, it is to achieve something else and become something else. I think we are happiest when we are simply following our own nature, doing what we enjoy and pursuing the things that interest us, rather than the things that make money for someone else.

We want to control nature rather than be guided by it. Tao turns this around and asks us to observe nature and emulate it, to follow the course of water and natural terrain and our own inner nature, to remember our souls.

Once you think of society as something that exists for you, it becomes a comfortable thing rather than a demanding one. I find it far easier to get along with other people now that I think of them as fellow souls rather than thinking of them in their societal roles. When you treat others as souls, valuing their unique spirit, rather than as the sales clerk, the voice on the phone, the coworker, you tend to develop real relationships rather than merely functional transactions. It’s far more human.