Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life Sculpting

"The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed - it is a process of elimination"
 - Elbert Hubbard

This quote really made me think about sculpting; LIFE SCULPTING.

To turn my life into a beautiful statue what do I need to do?  I want my statue to be made of a strong material, with a strong core, so it will stand the test of time and last as long as possible.  To me this is our moral center and spiritual education and is very important.  Otherwise, our statue will crumble at the first gust of wind or drop of rain.

Large, vulgar strokes of hammer and chisel do not create beautiful statues.  The process is one of patience, and precision.  It is delicate work, and the tools are specific to the sculpting medium.  marble is not worked the same way as basalt; wood differs from granite.  Every medium is different, as we are all different.  Every piece has flaws, knots in the wood or pockets in the stone, that must be understood ad adjusted for.  Every one of us is unique in our possibilities and circumstances, every one of us must be handled carefully with deep understanding.  Every hammer stroke counts; small mistakes can be corrected, but large mistakes cannot.  A good artist strikes neither too hard nor too soft.  Our daily training in meditation and martial arts is the patient, precise work of the sculptor to remove the excess and leave the purity.

Of course, making a beautiful statue requires the artist, the soul, to have a vision of what can be made from the starting block of material.  We must surely recognize this potential in ourselves and in others, and realize that a central mission of our lives is to help draw that special potential out - to help ourselves and others to reach our potential as human beings and collectively as human society.

It is also important to remember that this sculpting process is contrary to how modern people think, but totally in accordance with zen beliefs.  Modern people always seem to want to add more to their lives - more possessions, more technology, more activities.  Sculpting, especially LIFE SCULPTING, is about taking away the unnecessary so that what remains is beautiful.

I want my statue to be an enduring symbol of who I am.
I want it to be a testament to me hard work, discipline and perseverance.
I want my statue to inspire all those who see it.  I want it to give people hope for what they, too, can achieve.
I want my statue to appeal to everyone regardless of color, race, or belief.
I do not want it to be perfect, since its flaws will help people know it is real and was made by an ordinary man.  My small mistakes will give it unique character.

This statue is my life, and I want it to personify the essence of what I believe.

What statue will you create for yourself?
Can you sculpt your own life?

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