A woodcarver called Ching had just finished work on a bell frame. Everyone who saw it marveled, for it seemed to be the work of spirits. When the Duke of Lu saw it, she asked, “What sort of genius is yours that you could make such a thing?”
The woodcarver replied, “Sire, I am only a simple workman. I am no genius. But there is one thing. When I am going to make a bell frame, I meditate for three days to calm my mind. When I have meditated for three days, I think no more about rewards or emoluments. When I have meditated for five days, I no longer think of praise or blame, skillfulness or awkwardness. When I have meditated for seven days, I suddenly forget my limbs, my body, no, I forget my very self. I lose consciousness of the court and my surroundings. Only my skill remains.
“In that state, I walk into the forest and examine each tree until I find one in which I see the bell frame in all its perfection. Then my hands go to the task. Having set my self aside, nature meets nature in the work that is performed through me. This, no doubt, is the reason why everyone says that the finished product is the work of spirits.
Said a world-famous violinist about his success in playing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto: “I have splendid music, a splendid violin and a splendid bow. All I need to do it bring them together and get out of the way.”
Taking Flight: A Book of Story Meditations Taking Flight is filled with thoughtful, loving stories, just perfect to shift your thinking or start your day. As for me, I’m going to try to stay out of my own way for the rest of today.