No Secrets

by Jay van Arsdale (adapted from The Wooden Post, vol 8, September 2017)

“NO SECRETS, just how much –pay attention…’’ Imai-san

The challenge and hope of improvement comes with many tangents. Finding focus helps to establish approachable and appropriate practicality. Connecting the elementary dots of practice creates a working framework, a conceptual platform for performing tasks that lead to solutions-not absolute answers.

Jay vav ArsdalePredictable outcomes become the wisdom of the work revealed by devoted attention. The unsteady hand becomes more firm and responsive. Explore your path for improvement, a working rhythm… awareness more than facts.

It takes time to learn to keep up these increasing levels of awareness. Learn to relax and feel comfortable paying attention. You carry the true source within yourself. Discovery turns around the rules of learning, learn by working smart, study your working, learn to self correct. Reapply this to the pulse of your working. Working with simplicity-fundamental elements of process-correctable actions occur, repeatable balance becomes more obvious.

Feeling your mind wander is natural, see what interrupts your focus… keeping awareness open is not as easy as it sounds…as the sage/poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti has said-“Keep an open mind-but don’t let your brain fall out.”

This draws us back from extensive speculation into the realm of working practicality. Most of this learning doesn’t come from being taught verbally…all actions and processes of work are non-verbal – some described as a dance, others are designed to develop a lighter touch from the heavy handedness we may be accustomed to working with. This efficiency is designed and built into these tools and tradition of work. Finding this openness is accessible with our simple, clear paying attention.

Practice patience, with your progress, even more so, with your self. Mine your own resources. This sense of discovery makes it authentically yours….the echoes of old certaintys carry on…

What lies at the core of this ongoing tradition is in the heart of each craftsperson over the centuries that have sustained these values and standards of perfection in thought and execution doing this work.

For me, perfection is hearing the dreaming of the forest and what it can become.

Photo of Jay By JP Li