Thursday, September 12, 2013

Zen and the art of pottery making

For the first few months of learning to throw on a potter’s wheel, you struggle to center the clay. After that, the clay begins to center you.

This is one of the smartest things I’ve learned in my life: no matter what life throws at you, fair or unfair, deserved or underserved, welcome or unwelcome, your happiness is not determined by it. Getting the good stuff doesn’t make you happy, and it isn’t necessary to get all the bad stuff to go away in order to be happy.

In fact happiness is a kind of emptiness, no doubts, worries, longings. It comes like an exhilarating wave whenever you are at peace with the present moment, not wanting to change anything, just 100% grateful and appreciative of the gifts and opportunities each moment holds. So yeah, there are brief spaces like that when you are at the perfect place with the perfect people and you can just bask in the glow. But for the most part life has annoying waiters at he perfect restaurant, bugs on the idyllic hike, etc. Your parents failed to give you perfect unconditional love and the Prince has halitosis and an allergy to your cats.

It is much more reliable to enter that silent inner core of our being, which can be found with meditation, which can be found with deep prayer, which can be found with mastery of an art or sport that demands your complete surrender of attention to the present moment. Through the myriad ups and downs of my life, my studio has been a sanctuary. I come here to still my mind, release my stress, sooth my soul, let go my anger.

This is my new serving set, the White Lotus nesting tray set. When aligned symmetrically, the petals form arrows pointing inward and circles radiating outward. It was made after I centered the clay… and after the clay centered me.

Have you found the lotus, that pure flower of peace, love, and joy that rises through the muddy waters? Have you learned to wage peace?

1 comment:

  1. i read this an nod my head, yes, yes, yes. surrendering to the moment brings about the most utter peace. i too find refuge in my studio - and the fact that yours is for you is reflected in this work that comes from it.
    gorgeous design, lee -
    thich nhat hanh has a saying 'no mud, no lotus' how beautifully these pieces bring that to life.