As you can see, I didn’t have too much patience with this series of calligraphies. The ink is barely dry and I was in a rush to get them scanned. Oh let’s be honest; the wash was barely dry when I slapped on the kanji script and I cannot lie that I was aiming for a soft effect.
It happens with practice too. Often, it’s easy to pretend that what I did had a noble intention; that’s the Ninth of the Eight-fold path – Right Whitewashing. I stop the meditation to answer the phone – because I assessed the time and urgency of the ring tone to be a greater calling to compassionate action than the (boring) navel-gazing. I skim over the technique section of an art book because I’m trying to “trust” my instincts. I blunder through the 108 tai chi moves rather than stopping to review the accuracy of each set because… well, it just matters that I try not that I actually get it.
Just like painting, practice is waiting for these layers of delusion to lift away. Practice is also about letting the new layers we put down breath by breath consolidate into the ground of our being. Layer by layer. And while some intermingling is necessary and even inevitable, the test of practice is to create it with intention.