Sunday, January 22, 2006
Setting the Table
One of the things I’ve found to be true in this spiritual quest is that it’s good to master something that connects the body and the mind, something that helps create a unity of being. It could be martial arts, it could be gardening. One of my martial arts teachers once said that anything we choose to master can enlighten us, but if it doesn’t lead us to understanding who we really are, then the discipline is just clever behavior. Clever, clever monkey behavior. Several years after the mysterious experience I came to woodworking and I’ve been doing that for thirty years. I also earned a blackbelt in Aikido. These disciplines would have been pointless however, if they hadn’t guided me to being a better husband, a better father, a better human being.
For the moment I have left my teaching career to devote time to writing and publishing. I have also immersed myself once again in the joy of wood. I’m working on a table that has the feel of a Zen brushstroke. That in a sense is how I know I’m on to something, when its expression has the feel of a brushstroke done to a long exhalation. As for my writing, I’d like to be a Thoreau or Emerson, but we’ll see. That would be a nice brushstroke to extend through the rest of my existence. I’ve said all these things in order to set the table for our next time together. For your part, I’d like you to consider the image in the first paragraph above. Can you see this great immensity coming down to you? Does your life honor this process or are you throwing shitballs? Think about these things. How do you want to spend the rest of your existence?