Sunday, December 14, 2008

The farmer channels water to his land.

From the Dhammapada:
The farmer channels water to his land.
The fletcher whittles his arrows.
The carpenter turns his wood.
And the wise man masters himself.
I have been asked, "Does it get boring to do the same things over and over again?" What about the cutting and sanding that must be done if something is to be crafted with precision and care? The wise craftsman uses his attention wisely. He watches the transformation of material. He feels the texture as it moves from coarse to smooth. His mind never wanders, lest his intentions not be met. His attention is too precious to be wasted on the inconsequential wanderings of the common man.

As the farmer channels his water, as the fletcher whittles his arrows, and as the carpenter turns his wood, each works to master the landscape of self.

The mind wanders. The wise craftsman pulls it back into the moment and invests his attention in task at hand, that it may be done to convey wisdom and love.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

reflections on season and prophets

We are moving into the celebration of Christmas and other religious holidays, and I know many of my readers are busy making things to share as gifts. If you are a student of the Bible, you may notice that the prophets of the Old Testament were shepherds, given the task of caring for and counting the bounty provided by an autonomous Creator.

The prophet of the New Testament was the son of a carpenter, given the task of taking raw materials and shaping them into useful, beautiful objects.

Can you see why the Old Testament might regard the creator as distant, capricious and dominant, while in the New Testament Christ would say, "The Father and I are one?" To engage in creative acts is to place oneself in personal alignment with the fundamental creative power of the universe.

Of course, you can make meaningless stuff if you want. And you can make things carelessly and without regard to connection with the greater universe. I would like to suggest that we each have powers this holiday season to make connections that empower the things we make to transform the lives of others through the expression of our love. In the process we ourselves may also be transformed, becoming creators and grasping the wisdom of the universe.

Black Friday was just as bad as they expected. Big sales, but only for bargains. But if not buying things means we make them instead, I predict a wonderful holiday season in which the creator will be truly at hand.